The application period for the 2021 Scaife Fellowship is now closed.

Application decisions will be sent out by mid-April. Students who are wait-listed will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Program Philosophy

  • Because patients with addiction have historically been neglected and mistreated by the healthcare system, healthcare professionals have an ethical obligation to proactively learn to engage with and care for these patients.
  • When people of color, individuals experiencing homelessness, and other marginalized groups are affected by addiction, they have been disproportionately blamed, criminalized, and stigmatized. In response, health professionals should actively work to avoid placing blame, sanction, or stigma on members of marginalized groups with addiction.
  • Regardless of whether a patient has a goal of abstinence or any type of recovery, people with addiction deserve accessible, quality healthcare.
  • There are complex barriers to recovery on a societal level, and on an individual basis. Healthcare professionals should work to identify and remove these societal and individual barriers to recovery.
  • Healthcare professionals with knowledge and skills related to substance use disorder need to act as advocates by working to change attitudes and behaviors of their professional and academic peers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does the Program Consist of?

Students who are accepted into the program participate in an intensive learning experience. Their schedules include:

  • Lectures
  • A variety of site visits
  • Patient contact
  • Group sessions with clients
  • Training with standardized patients
  • Shadowing with residents and physicians
  • Opportunities to present what they have learned

**Some of the above activities will be adjusted for the virtual program due to COVID.**

When is the Fellowship?

There will be two three-week sessions in 2021, during the following dates:

  • Session 1: June 7 – 25, 2021
  • Session 2: July 12 – July 30, 2021

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Medical students attending a medical school in the United States will be eligible to participate in this program.

How Many Students will be Accepted?

In order to optimize the clinical experience of the participants, only eight students will be accepted for each session.

What are the Benefits of Participating?

The Scaife Fellowship provides participants with increased knowledge and skills in the following areas:

  • Screening for and diagnosing substance use disorders
  • Brief motivational interviewing skills
  • Adolescent substance use
  • Substance use and pregnancy
  • Special populations and addiction treatment
  • Harm reduction strategies
  • Residential/inpatient and outpatient treatment modalities
  • Family issues in treatment
  • Psychiatric co-morbidity
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  • Providing referrals to addiction treatment from medical settings

Is There Financial Compensation for Participating?

Participants will receive a $200 living compensation for the time period they are accepted for the fellowship.

Is This Program Only for Students Who Plan to Specialize in Addiction Medicine or Psychiatry?

No, students interested in all specialties are encouraged to apply. All medical professionals will encounter patients with substance use disorders and therefore need training to work with this population.


Please contact Marla Kauffman if you have additional questions about the program. Email:

Want to Learn More?

IRETA has offered the Scaife Medical Student Fellowship for 20 years, and during that time, we have received a great deal of feedback from former students. Below are excerpts from our departing student focus groups:

I couldn’t believe how much I had learned. I came in with a pretty decent baseline of knowledge from what I did in med school, but I’m still so happy with what I got on top of that.

The diverse opportunities to interact with patients really helped open my eyes and enhanced my desire to learn.

I have a better understanding of the addiction treatment system.

Still Want to Learn More?

Take a look at our blog for posts from former students and a summary of our longitudinal evaluation of the program, which was published in the journal Substance Abuse.

Lessons Learned from IRETA’s Scaife Advanced Medical Student Fellowship program (2012)

Utilizing SBIRT in a Student-Run Free Clinic (2013)

The Scarlet Letter A, This Time for Addiction (2014)

It Works! Annual Summer Program Changes Medical Students’ Views of Addiction (2017)

Related Case Study

Educating Medical Students About Substance Use Disorders

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.

Learn More