About 10% of American adults report having experienced a substance use disorder, yet only one-quarter have received any form of treatment, and the availability of treatment may be even more compromised in less-resourced settings — but web-based openly-accessible training can help stem this tragedy globally.1 All physicians and their teams should have access to resources that can help them understand how substance use disorders present in their clinical settings, and how to compassionately assess, prevent, treat, and refer patients with these disorders. The US Surgeon General’s 2016 Report, Facing Addiction in America, called for better-integrating2 substance misuse and substance use disorder treatment into mainstream practice, and for correspondingly increased training for physicians and all other members of the healthcare team including undergraduates, graduates, postgraduates, and professionals.3 The Report urged nonprofit organizations and others to mobilize a robust public health response to substance use disorders, including integration of education related to substance misuse and substance abuse disorders into all health workers’ practices.4 The Report also encouraged public health models for addressing addiction and its causes, while indicating an increased need for healthcare providers to understand the basics of public health.5 Finally, the Report called for foci on evidence-based addiction treatment, and on preventing substance misuse and substance use disorders.6 In response, this Physician Training Initiative has focused and will continue to span its focus from clinical specialty training in addiction medicine to training in population-based preventive medicine and public health approaches, to systematically address the implications of substance misuse and substance use disorders for individuals, families, and communities.
Moreover, as an additional effort to facilitate the assimilation of addiction, mental health, and public health concepts by professional clinical workers, we initiated a professional development category. This targeted approach is particularly intended to decrease time- and workload-related barriers for busy clinical audiences. And further, regarding assimilation, all professional development courses, regardless of the topic, include at least one element that either increases exposure to addiction medicine content, aims to reduce stigma related to substance use disorders, or provides insights to improving the care of addictive diseases.
The Physician Training and Addiction Education Initiative offers education in substance misuse, substance use disorders, prevention, and related public health issues aimed at:
- Addictionologists (physicians who specialize in Addiction Medicine)
- Physician specialists including Psychiatrists, Preventionists, and Emergency Medicine physicians
- Primary Care Physicians and other physicians across specialties
- Physicians in training and other providers in training and practice
- Learning communities that train physicians and other healthcare providers