The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) Foundation today announced the accreditation of four new addiction medicine fellowship programs, bringing the total number of accredited programs to 23.
The fellowship programs, which are modeled on the Foundation's national guidelines, Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Addiction Medicine, are based at leading medical institutions across the U.S. and Canada. Accreditation of these new programs means that there are now 58 addiction medicine fellowship slots available each year.
"We now have accredited addiction medicine fellowships at leading institutions on both coasts and at a number of locales in between, as well as in two Canadian provinces, and plans for further expansion," said Patrick G. O'Connor, MD, MPH, FACP, President of ABAM and The ABAM Foundation, and Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Section of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine. "These fellowships train future addiction medicine leaders. Together with passage of our rigorous examination, this clinical training will help make evidence-based addiction treatment more readily available to those who need it."
The ABAM Foundation hopes to accredit 50 addiction medicine fellowship programs by 2020.
The new fellowship programs are: The University of Colorado Addiction Medicine Fellowship (Aurora, CO); The Summa Addiction Medicine Fellowship (Akron, OH); The Swedish Medical Center Addiction Medicine Fellowship (Seattle, WA); and The Hines / Loyola Addiction Medicine Fellowship (Hines/Maywood, IL). (See table at end of this release for information on these programs, and detailed summaries of all ABAM Foundation fellowship programs at www.abamfoundation.org).
The ABAM Foundation-accredited fellowship programs provide subspecialty training, which is offered to physicians already trained in a specialty such as internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, emergency medicine, surgery, preventive medicine, or obstetrics and gynecology.
The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology offers its own fellowships in the psychiatry subspecialty of addiction psychiatry. There are 45 addiction psychiatry fellowship programs in the U.S.
The new training programs have been established at a time of increasing promise for addiction treatment, as well as an increased need for trained treatment providers. Recent scientific discoveries have confirmed that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain caused by biological and developmental factors, with unique vulnerabilities and pathology, and a predictable course, if not interrupted by effective treatment. An increasing number of medically based addiction treatments have recently become available. Expanded coverage and demand for addiction medicine physicians will increase, as 30 million formerly uninsured Americans become covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Accrediting these and future training programs will help to assure the American public that addiction physician specialists have the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and treat addiction. It will also help ensure that trained physicians are available to address common medical or psychiatric conditions related to the use of addictive substances.
Physician training in addiction medicine was lacking prior to the establishment of ABAM and The ABAM Foundation; only the specialty of psychiatry previously offered sub-specialized training and certification in addictions. Separate courses in addiction medicine are rarely taught in medical school, and there are no addiction medicine residencies among the 8,887 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency programs in the nation's hospitals. Once the Foundation has demonstrated that its fellowships meet ACGME criteria, it will apply to the ACGME to accredit them.