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Treatment center, university team up for training program

October 5, 2016
by Tom Valentino, Senior Editor
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With a need for more addiction psychiatrists in its state, Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services is teaming with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to raise awareness of the field with residents still mapping out their career paths.

Pine Grove, an extension of Forrest General Hospital located in Hattiesburg, Miss., launched the partnership with the university in September. As part of the program, fourth-year psychiatrist residents take part in a month-long senior elective training rotation that includes a variety of treatment programs. Five residents are participating in the program this year and one has already completed the rotation, says Debbie Sanford, chief behavioral health and addictions officer for Forrest General.

“Residents can get some experience and see patients with different diagnoses and different treatment modalities, more than they are exposed to elsewhere, where maybe they just see patients for a short period of time, in a detox unit or an outpatient setting,” Sanford says.

During their rotation, residents receive training with the following Pine Grove programs:

  • Next Step (for men with chemical addictions)
  • The Women’s Center (women with substance use issues and co-occurring eating disorders)
  • Legacy (adults age 55 and over with chemical dependency)
  • Family Program
  • Intensive outpatient (adults with drug and alcohol addiction)
  • Professional enhancement program (individuals with behavioral problems, interpersonal difficulties and addiction disorders)

By training with a variety of programs during their rotation, residents are able to get a more complete picture of how treatment can be effective, Sanford says.

“I think mostly we want (residents) to see it’s a rewarding career, that patients do get better,” she says. “They are able to see patients go from detox and progress through several months of their treatment and have some recovery under their belt before they leave treatment. It’s very positive for them to see that.”

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I think Dr. Sanford's statement “I think mostly we want (residents) to see it’s a rewarding career, that patients do get better" is very important. The reality is that patients being treated for substance use disorders do get well and the change is dramatic. The problem is that very few people know that.