UNC doctor injured in RDU plane crash key advocate in push to reduce misuse of opioids to treat pain

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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
UNC doctor injured in RDU plane crash works to reduce opioid misuse
A UNC physician and pilot were hospitalized Wednesday after a small plane crash traveling from Wilmington Wednesday.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A UNC Health physician who was involved in a plane crash at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Wednesday is back home after the incident.

ABC11 spoke with Dr. Paul Chelminski's wife at their home in Carrboro where she said he is doing OK.

Dr. Chelminski is an internal medicine specialist at UNC Health in Orange County and served on the county's Board of Health for nearly a dozen years.

He graduated from Duke University and completed medical school, his residency, fellowship, and master's program at the University of North Carolina.

Chelminski is also the lead in a research study that is working to find different ways to treat pain.

The study researches the effects of cognitive behavior therapy and motivational therapy to better understand ways to reduce the use of opioids for patients managing chronic pain.

Dr. Chelminski was returning from a lecture at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington on Wednesday morning when his plane crashed.

Both Chelminski and the UNC Air Inc. pilot, Art Johnson, were taken to the hospital for their injuries. Johnson is listed in fair condition.

According to UNC Air Inc., pilots fly five to seven flights per day with a couple of people on board at a time. Crews take faculty, clinical staff, and residents to clinics across the state from Asheville to Wilmington.