Training medical students to address substance use and related problems
Medical students receive little to no training in addictions as part of the regular curriculum, despite the fact that doctors encounter many patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) and SUDs are a major contributing factor to numerous other common chronic illnesses.
A survey of medical school curriculum deans affirmed that little change has occurred in increasing medical education about addictive diseases to prepare physicians to treat these patients.
Since 1999, IRETA has hosted two three-week immersive learning Fellowships for medical students funded by the Scaife Family Foundation.
Site visits are offered at different levels of care to diverse populations, giving the students a well-rounded learning experience. Sites include: Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Allegheny County Correctional Health Facilities, and Gateway Rehabilitation Center.
Students also received a series of lectures on topics like SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment), The Impaired Professional, and Rural Drug and Alcohol Issues.
IRETA has been able to provide more than 120 medical and psychology students from over 50 medical schools with training in substance use and addiction.
Pre and post test data show a positive effect on students’ motivation, their confidence, and their willingness to work with people who have substance use disorders.