If there is one thing most workers in the field of addiction treatment can agree upon, it is that doctors are inadequately trained to deal with addicted patients. Research shows that most medical doctors are not properly trained on how to treat patients who suffer from addiction and substance abuse-related issues. Addiction and recovery news site The Fix reported:
Researchers [at Boston Medical Center] earlier reported that national “education on addiction is inadequate during medical training, resulting in suboptimal medical care for those at risk.” Joseph Califano Jr. of Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse told a conference: “Although doctors and nurses have the best opportunity to intervene with alcoholics and substance abusers, our research indicates they are woefully inadequate at even diagnosing someone with this disease.” Surveys conducted by the center showed that 90% of primary care doctors fail to offer a diagnosis of addiction even in patients clearly displaying classic hallmarks of the condition.
In an effort to combat these statistics, with a generous donation from the Scaife Foundation, IRETA hosts a summer fellowship program for current medical students to introduce them to topics related to addiction treatment and recovery. Each summer since 1995, medical students from around the country apply to be Scaife fellows and two cohorts of 6-9 students are chosen to come to Pittsburgh for a three-week session. During this time, they attend lectures by professionals in the field, interact with patients, consult with physicians and much more.
More information about the Scaife program can be found here. And stay tuned for interviews with current Scaife students and faculty members.