Kimberly Dion is a Clinical Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Elaine Marieb College of Nursing. Her program of research is on persons with a substance use disorder, a population she has worked with for 22 years. She is a harm reductionist and certified intranasal naloxone trainer for Massachusetts. Her broad and sustained impact is focused on decreasing substance use disorder stigma, opioid overdoses and infusing harm reduction education into academic and community programs.
Dr. Dion focuses on participatory-based research. She completed a two-year SAMHSA grant focused on decreasing substance use disorder stigma in university students. She used multimodal training, including presentations by individuals with lived experiences, to provide fundamental skills for student nurses in caring for people with substance use disorders. Stigma can be reduced, and a therapeutic commitment can be strengthened with focused training. She also works with interdisciplinary teams to use art to decrease stigma. She collaborates with a person with lived experience to understand pregnant women’s substance use disorder treatment to improve maternal and fetal outcomes. She works with 177 sex workers to reduce harm related to COVID-19, Monkeypox, and wound care related to Xylazine-contaminated drugs.
In 2021, Dr. Dion received the American Nurses Association Massachusetts Excellence in Nursing Research Award. She is an active member of several local and national committees to decrease health inequities for people who use drugs. In addition to her full-time teaching position at the university, Dr. Dion works as a nurse in a syringe access program where she provides vaccines, wound care, and reproductive health education. Her future goals are to disseminate her training modules to other nursing programs and to continue her research into improving the lives of people who use drugs.