Through purposeful curriculum threading, NextGenU.org is enabling physicians, nurses, and other health care providers to competently and compassionately respond to substance use disorders in clinical settings.
According to a 2015 study from the US Department of Health and Human Services, 10 percent of the US adult population suffers from substance abuse disorders at some point in their lives, yet only one in four seek treatment (2015). A 2016 US Surgeon General’s Report, called for substance misuse and substance use disorder treatment to be integrated into mainstream medical practice and the associated training of health professionals.
Another reason that this integrated approach is important is that physicians with less-healthy personal substance use habits are less likely to counsel their patients on those behaviors. Frank, Elon, and Spencer (2009) demonstrated that exposing health professionals to information about addictive disorders reduces the stigmatization of patients with substance use disorders, and increases clinicians’ competency, perceived relevance, and likelihood to provide addiction medicine treatment.
By threading substance use, misuse, and abuse disorder content and concepts into NextGenU.org courses, we are helping health workers understand how to assess, prevent, treat, and refer patients for further care. Our primary goal is to address the broad spectrum of training in addiction medicine, focusing on the implications for and the impact of substance misuse and substance abuse disorders on individuals, families, and communities.
Unlike traditional curriculum development models, which tend to overemphasize the discrete subjects in a way that leads to fragmentation and disconnection, the integrated or threaded approach provides students with continuous exposure to the many facets of substance use disorders. This repeated exposure improves overall understanding, decision-making, and value formation that impacts their practice in the clinical setting.
The implementation of curriculum threading forms part of the organization’s meta curriculum, providing critical linkages between foundational knowledge and the learning disposition needed to build awareness of the prevalence of substance use disorders in health services environments.
At NextGenU.org, we act on data showing that curricular threading facilitates the teaching-learning transaction and aids in the acquisition, application, and retention of fundamental concepts related to substance use disorders.
Fogarty, R (1991). Ten ways to integrate curriculum. Educational Leadership 1991, pp 61-65.
Fogarty, R. and Pete, B.M. (2009). How to integrate the curricula. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks CA: Corwin.
Frank, E., Elon, L., Spencer, E. (2009) Personal and clinical tobacco-related practices and attitudes of U.S. medical students. Preventive Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091743509003235?via%3Dihub 2 September 2021
NextGen.Org (2021). Physician Training and Addiction Education Initiative. Retrieved from https://nextgenu.org/provider-training-initiative/ 7 September 2021
Northwestern University. (2021). Curricular Threads. Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Retrieved from: https://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/md-education/curriculum/components/threads/index.html 5 September 2021
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (n.d.) Curriculum threads. School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved from https://www.med.wisc.edu/education/md-program/curriculum/threads/ 8 September 2021
US Department of Health and Human Services. (2015). 10 percent of US adults have drug use disorder at some point in their lives.
US Department of Health and Human Services. (2016). Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health. Retrieved from https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-generals-report.pdf 6 September 2021
Yale School of Medicine. (2021). Yale Makes Major Commitment to Medical Education in Health Equity, April 01 2021. Retrieved from: https://medicine.yale.edu/news-article/yale-makes-major-commitment-to-medical-education-in-health-equity/ 9 September 2021