SGCMH Physician elected to health department board
article courtesy of Ste. Genevieve Herald
photo at right: Dr. Bosner with Sandra Bell, volunteers at the Taste of Ste. Genevieve.
Dr. Matthew Bosner may not be ready to add politician to his business card, but his interests in the community beyond the heart health of his patients showed last week when he was elected as a write-in candidate to the Ste. Genevieve County Health Department board.
No candidates had filed for the position by the deadline in January, so a write-in election for a three-year term was conducted as part of the April 3 Municipal Election and any write-in candidates were counted.
Bosner, a cardiologist and chief of medicine at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital, threw his hat in the ring.
He received 85 votes, more than half of the 159 write-in votes cast — 53.5 percent, to be exact.
“The election aspect of it was really a last-minute issue,” Bosner said. “I just called around to people that I knew, and I said, ‘Look, you know this is important to me, and you know what I’ve done in the community, I’m really entrenched in the community, and I’d like to do this as a community outreach program, and I’d appreciate your support. ... I’ll do my best as I have done in other issues.’”
Bosner said the issue that drove him to want to be on the board was the opioid crisis — a national problem that has presented itself in Ste. Genevieve County as well.
“I’ve always been interested in public health issues as a preventive cardiologist,” Bosner said. “I’ve always been interested in general health issues — hypertension, cholesterol, smoking issues, etc. — but really what prompted me to get very interested in this was the opioid issues.”
Bosner, as chief of medicine, has been part of a committee to deal with the issue that includes Sandra Bell, the health department’s administrator.
“We’ve gotten to be very close and we’ve done several programs together,” Bosner said. “I discussed the issues with her and realized there was an open position on the board, and I decided to kind of throw my hat in for the election.”
Bosner is the only physician in the county certified through the American Society of Addiction Medicine to prescribe detoxification medications. He has been part of what he said was a “very successful program” at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital that offers an in-patient program for medical-assisted detoxification.
He said tackling the crisis involves a “multi-factorial approach” with medical, mental health and social services.
“If you only treat one aspect, it’s not going to cure the condition,” Bosner said, “and that’s why we have to take a multi-factorial approach.
“In our community, the opioid epidemic is really rampant,” he added. “The issue is not just treatment of the overdose. It’s really a public health issue. It’s a combination, a multi-factorial approach — it’s not just treating the medical condition. ... We have to bring together public health, we have to bring together education, we have to bring together social services — beginning in schools and family. It’s not just a mental health illness; it’s a medical condition. And if we don’t treat all aspects of this, the patients are just going to be recycling through the medical system.
“We really have to treat it as a medical disease. When patients get admitted to the hospital for an overdose, we can’t just treat that for the acute problem and then send them back out on the street. They really have to get admitted to a medical-assisted treatment program and immediately get treated for the chronic condition.”
Bosner said he looked forward to being a part of the five-member board that oversees the department’s work in community health; women’s health, with WIC among other programs; immunizations; and education.
“What I’d like to bring to the board,” Bosner said, “is not only my experience in adult health but also to bring the issue of opioid addiction and education to the community and ... to help make that a public health priority in our community.”