Members of the Scaife Medical Student Fellowship June 2020 cohort during their final presentations.
For the past 21 years, IRETA has hosted medical students in Pittsburgh for the Scaife Medical Student Fellowship in Substance Use Disorders. The fellowship offers medical students, typically between their first and second years of medical school, an intensive learning experience about substance use, addiction, and addiction treatment.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s fellowship looked much different than it has in years past. After the initial shutdown in March, IRETA staff worked quickly to ensure that the program would still be able to move forward no matter what restrictions looked like come June and July. Rather than coming to Pittsburgh, a total of 19 students – from all across the country – joined IRETA staff and Scaife faculty from the comfort of their own homes. Both fellowship sessions were held completely online!
We were excited to welcome three pharmacy students from the Duquesne School of Pharmacy to this year’s program. Including pharmacy students falls in line with the Scaife Fellowship program philosophy. Like medical doctors, pharmacists play a unique role in substance use prevention, education, and assistance.
Some members of the July cohort during their final presentations.
Over the course of two weeks, our June and July cohorts attended virtual talks on a wide variety of topics including:
- Substance use in adolescents
- Brief motivational interviewing
- Personal stories of addiction and recovery
- Special populations and addiction treatment
- Harm reduction strategies
Students were also able to participate in virtual site visits at Pittsburgh-based facilities. Some of the sites they got to see were:
- Pregnancy Recovery Center at Magee Womens Hospital
- Center for Inclusion Health at Allegheny General Hospital
- POWER (Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery)
- Salvation Army: Harbor Light
- The Allegheny County Jail
After completing the program, each student chose a topic related to substance use or its treatment and created a presentation to present to their peers, fellowship faculty, and IRETA staff.
Despite the challenges the pandemic presented us with this year, both sessions of the Scaife fellowship were a success. We want to thank the Scaife Family Foundation for their generous support that makes the program possible, as well as all of our fantastic faculty who were willing to adapt to a virtual program.