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Nation’s 10th addiction medicine residency accredited

March 20, 2012
by News release
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The American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation has accredited the addiction medicine training program at NYU School of Medicine. The program, under the direction of Joshua D. Lee, MD, MSc, is the nation’s 10th post-graduate addiction medicine residency for physicians; the other nine were accredited in 2011. The programs are modeled on the Foundation’s national guidelines, The Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Addiction Medicine, released in March 2011.

Trained addiction medicine physicians will now join other addiction professionals in the interdisciplinary care of patients with addictive disorders. Physician specialists in addiction medicine will bring unique skills and competencies to the treatment team, using all appropriate treatment modalities to contribute to prevention and the care of individuals and families.

“This clinical training coupled with passage of our rigorous examination will help to provide evidence-based addiction treatment to those who need it,” said Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MPH, ABAM Foundation President. “Patients will have access to specialized medical care for substance use disorders related to alcohol, tobacco and other addicting drugs, including some prescription medications.”

The new training programs have been established at a time of increasing promise for addiction treatment, and increased need for trained treatment providers. Recent scientific discoveries have confirmed that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain caused by biological and developmental factors, with unique vulnerabilities and pathology, and a predictable course, if not interrupted by effective treatment. An increasing number of medically based addiction treatments have recently become available, and more are on the horizon. The demand for addiction medicine physicians will increase, as 30 million formerly uninsured Americans (including many in need of addiction treatment) will have health insurance under the health care reform law signed in 2010.

“Accrediting these and future training programs will help to assure the American public that addiction medicine physicians have the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and treat addiction, and that trained physicians are available to address common medical or psychiatric conditions related to the use of addictive substances,” said Richard Blondell, MD, Chair of the Foundation’s Training and Accreditation Committee, and Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine.

Physician training in addiction medicine is sorely lacking. Separate courses in addiction medicine are rarely taught in medical school, and there are no addiction medicine residencies among the 9,034 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency programs in the nation’s hospitals. Prior to ABAM’s formation, only one medical specialty (psychiatry) offered sub-specialized training and certification in addictions. Once the Foundation has demonstrated that the residencies meet the ACGME criteria, the Foundation will apply to the ACGME to accredit them.

The ABAM Foundation’s purpose is to establish and accredit addiction medicine training programs and support the mission of the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM).  ABAM’s mission is to improve the quality of care in the medical specialty of addiction medicine, establish standards and procedures, and certify physicians as experts in this specialized field of medical practice. ABAM's goal is to have a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) certify physicians in addiction medicine. ABAM and The ABAM Foundation are governed by 15 distinguished physicians from a range of medical specialties, each of whom is certified by a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

A list of ABAM Foundation-accredited residencies follows. 

For addiction medicine programs seeking accreditation effective July 2013, the application deadline is November 15, 2012. The 2013 Program Accreditation Application Form (PAAF) is available for downloading at The ABAM Foundation and ABAM website: http://www.abam.net.

Addiction Medicine Residency Training Programs

Boston University Medical Center Addiction Medicine Residency
Boston University Medical Center
Boston, MA   
Residency Director: Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

Geisinger Addiction Medicine Residency at Marworth
Geisinger Health System
Marworth Treatment Center
Waverly, PA   
Residency Director: David J. Withers, MD

Addiction Institute of New York Fellowship in Addiction Medicine
St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals
New York, NY   
Residency Director: Petros  Levounis, MD, MA

University at Buffalo Addiction Medicine Fellowship
University at Buffalo School of Medicine
Department of Family Medicine
Buffalo, NY
Residency Director: Richard D. Blondell, MD

University of Florida Addiction Medicine Program
University of Florida College of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
Gainesville, FL   
Residency Director: Scott A. Teitelbaum, MD, FAAP, FASAM

Cincinnati Addiction Medicine Fellowship
University Hospital, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
VA Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH   
Residency Director: Shannon C. Miller, MD, FASAM, FAPA

University of Maryland- Sheppard Pratt Training Program
University of Maryland Medical System
Sheppard Pratt
Baltimore, MD   
Residency Director: Devang H. Gandhi, MBBS, MD, FASAM

Minnesota Addiction Medicine Residency Program: UM-HCMC-VA
University of Minnesota Medical School
Department of Psychiatry
Minneapolis, MN   
Residency Director: Sheila M. Specker, MD

University of Wisconsin Program
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Center for Addictive Disorders
Madison, WI    
Residency Director: Randall T. Brown, MD, PhD

Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program
NYU School of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine and Psychiatry
New York, NY
Residency Director: Joshua D. Lee, MD, MSc 

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Comments

As a hospice nurse, I have found that many physicians are hesitant to prescribe high does of narcotics at times when patients' pain in out of control. They are greatful to the staff physicians at the hospice that willingly coordinate pain control with PCPs and specialists, as their clients face the end of life.

I had one primary care physician tell me that in school she remembers being cautioned about giving large doses of pain or other addictive medications to patients, to help limit the potential for drug abuse in patients.

There remains a poor understanding among the public and even healthcare providers in the difference between addiction and tolerance. I am uncertain that even research defintions can clearly delineate one from the other.

Such residency programs as the ones mentioned in this article, may help make those differences more clear to clinicians, so we can better care for and educate not only thoes with physical pain, but also those who have turned to addictive behaviors to control emotional pain.

A. R. Matthaei, BSN, RN

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