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Photo of Gastala, Nicole

Nicole Gastala

Director of Behavioral Health and Addiction

Mile Square Health Center - Department of Family Medicine


Office Phone:



Areas of Expertise

  • Adults
  • Alternative pain management
  • Community-based solutions
  • Curriculum development
  • Government funded programs (Medicaid/Medicare)
  • Heroin
  • Injection drug use
  • Interprofessional collaborations
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Naloxone
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Patients
  • Prescribing
  • Prevention
  • Primary care
  • Telehealth
  • Treatment
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • HRSA MAT expansion

Research Currently in Progress

As a member of the National Health Service Corp, I have practiced full spectrum outpatient family medicine in both rural and urban settings. After graduating from residency, I chose a rural underserved Federally Qualified Health Center to provide full-time clinical care. I participated in the writing and development of a HRSA grant funded Medication Assisted Treatment program within our FQHC workflow by collaborating with community agencies for addiction counseling services, initiating treatment and continuity of care with the local hospital and engaging the County Jail and Department of Corrections for patients with OUD. We coordinated access to Medication Assisted Treatment from the hospital, primary care, therapy, department of corrections and county jail. HRSA-16-074 Substance Use Service Expansion Grant

As Clinical Physician, Researcher at UI Health Mile Square (FQHC), I have continued to work to develop our MAT program by mentoring new prescribers, precepting residents and training clinicians within the Chicago community and UIC/MSHC system through PCSS DATA 2000 Waiver Program. I am currently a hub panel expert of a bimonthly ECHO webinar focused on MAT in primary care for Iowa and Illinois as well as the Implementation Subcommittee Chair of the Illinois Opioid Crisis Advisory Council. I am fortunate to work with a highly motivated team within Mile Square Health Center and the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Illinois Chicago, who have a special focus and commitment on improving education, training, access and care for the underserved patients we serve at UI Health. MSHC currently has several HRSA grants focused on improving access to substance use services as well as mental health integration. HRSA Substance Abuse Service Expansion, HRSA AIMS, HRSA Behavioral Health Integration, HRSA Substance Use Disorder-Mental Health grants.

My area of interest and research is evaluating and instituting system and practice changes to improve access and transitions of care for underserved patients, in particular, those with substance use disorders. My focus has been on integrating behavioral health within primary care, improving treatment initiation and retention of patients in primary care with OUD, and transitioning care from inpatient/ER to primary care.