As an AOA board-certified pain medicine physician, John DiMuro, DO, MBA, is uniquely trained to tackle one of the biggest challenges of his new role as Nevada’s chief medical officer: addressing the state’s opioid epidemic.
“Being dually certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine, I can offer insights on redefining guidelines and creating usable mandates for prescribing opioids,” says Dr. DiMuro.
Appointed to the position in July, Dr. DiMuro oversees the enforcement of all laws and regulations pertaining to public health throughout the state. He previously served as the medical director of pain services for the Sierra Surgery Hospital in Carson City, Nevada.
In this edited interview, Dr. DiMuro discusses the new chapter in his career and shares advice for those interested in public service.
How did you become chief medical officer?
A state senator approached me upon the departure of the previous chief medical officer. In light of the state’s opioid epidemic, he thought the nomination of a practicing pain medicine physician with an MBA in health care administration would be very timely. After submitting to the vetting process and a series of interviews, I was offered the position.
Is this your first time serving in a public office?
Yes. As a political outsider, my goal is to serve as a bridge between government and the private sector. Being dually certified in anesthesiology and pain management, I can offer insightful opinions about how to address the opioid epidemic by helping to redefine prescribing guidelines.
What does your job entail?
Each day is unique. I serve within the state’s Department of Health and Human Services in the Division of Public and Behavioral Health. A typical day involves multiple meetings, which can include working with the Crisis Standards of Care emergency state management team, inspecting medical facilities and state prisons, or performing individual chart reviews for minor medical marijuana licenses.
I also respond to inquiries from state residents and the media on a wide range of public health issues. Recently I met with the chief medical officer from California to discuss some collaborative efforts we are trying to implement through the legislative process.
What legislative efforts are you currently working on?
There are several areas we’re pursuing to provide access to care for the uninsured and Medicaid patients. One effort is to implement license reciprocity within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to designate zones or geographic regions that would enable physicians to provide their services across state lines.
How do you apply the osteopathic approach to your role as chief medical officer?
The foundation of osteopathic medicine has its roots in primary care, especially within rural and underserved areas. The profession’s emphasis on promoting community health has allowed me to develop strategies that can positively impact members of the public.
What advice would you give to DOs and students who are interested in public service?
Get involved early on in your career by volunteering on a state committee or offering to work with your state’s medical officer to provide input in your specialty area. You can also play a role in helping your hospital and specialty board committees assess the impact of CMS regulations.