Five Minutes With Emily Feinstein
Welcome to Five Minutes With, where we take a few moments to better get to know the CASAColumbia staff. Today we’d like to introduce Emily Feinstein, J.D., Director of Health Law and Policy.
What sort of work do you do?
What we know about addiction from science is constantly evolving. I take all of this information and translate it into educational tools and recommendations that can be used by policymakers, health care providers and the public. A big part of what I do is focused on increasing public awareness about addiction and improving the way we prevent and treat the disease.
What inspired you to start doing this work?
Addiction is the only disease where we put people in prison instead of offering medical care. It touches almost every family in America, yet people are afraid to talk about it and ask for help. I’ve seen first-hand the suffering it can cause, and the amazing strength people find in recovery. I hope that someday everyone who has addiction receives effective and compassionate care.
What are you currently working on that you’re most excited about?
A guide to finding quality treatment for teens with addiction. Parents often feel very isolated when their child has addiction and have a hard time figuring out what to do. We hear stories all the time about families that paid for expensive treatments that didn’t work, or cut their child off because they were told to express “tough love.” Parents need guidance about what really works and what doesn’t, and suggestions for how to find the best possible care for their child.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
My background is in bioethics, and I am fascinated by genetics. I’d probably be teaching, or working at a think tank. So, not too different, I guess!
What is the best vacation you ever took?
Before graduate school I spent six weeks traveling through Thailand. It was incredible! I took cooking classes, lived with a local family, spent 10 days in silence meditating at a Buddhist monastery, and stayed in a thatched room on stilts at a beach that was only accessible by boat.