ABAM Foundation receives $2M grant to establish Center for Physician Training in Addiction Medicine

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) Foundation a three-year, $2 million grant to establish The National Center for Physician Training in Addiction Medicine. The purpose of the new Center will be to expand the education and training of physicians in addiction medicine, with a special emphasis on prevention and screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT), particularly for adolescents and young adults. The Center will be directed by Richard Blondell, MD, Professor of Family Medicine at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

"Our objective is to create systemic change in medical education, medical practice and health care, in order to provide evidence-based addiction prevention and treatment to adolescents and others who need it," said Dr. Blondell. "We are grateful to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for helping us establish this Center in order to better work toward this objective."

"We're pleased to partner with The ABAM Foundation to create the National Center for Physician Training in Addiction Medicine," said Steven M. Hilton, President, Chairman and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. "The ABAM Foundation's expertise in establishing programs that train and grow the addiction medicine workforce will help the Center to promote the transformation of our nation's medical education and health care systems. This systemic change is necessary to help those in urgent need of substance abuse prevention and treatment services, especially adolescents and young adults."

The first long-term goal of the Center is to assure that primary care physicians are trained in addiction medicine and early intervention in adolescent substance abuse. The Center's second goal is to help make prevention, brief intervention and treatment of substance use, abuse and addiction, and of these disorders' medical and psychiatric consequences, available at all points of entry to the health care system. These include physicians' offices, community clinics, school and college health centers, emergency rooms, trauma centers, hospitals and other health care centers.

Ninety percent of individuals with a substance use disorder began using an addictive substance before age 18. Addiction is not just a disease that affects adults, but is a pediatric and young adult disease, and a major public health problem. The disease affects the entire family: the user, spouses, parents, children, and other family members. Adolescents who use drugs are more likely to have one or more parents who use.

"It is so urgent to address this issue now, because only a small fraction of individuals receive prevention or treatment consistent with scientific knowledge about what works," said Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MA, MPH, President, ABAM and The ABAM Foundation Board of Directors, and Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. "One reason for this is the fact that prevention, screening, intervention, and treatment are not easily accessible components of the health care system."

Currently, very few physicians ever screen, intervene or refer, because they have not been educated about addiction medicine in medical school, nor trained in residencies. Until the establishment of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, one barrier to this training has been the lack of an addiction medicine subspecialty for primary care physicians. A subspecialty of addiction psychiatry exists within the field of psychiatry, however, this does not address the issue of primary care training. While there are excellent addiction psychiatry fellowships, there are no addiction medicine residencies for physicians pursuing primary care specialties among the 9,262 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited U.S. programs that are currently training 119,588 residents.

To meet this need, The ABAM Foundation has accredited 19 fellowship programs to train physicians in addiction medicine, and plans to establish additional fellowship programs. More than 3,000 physicians have been certified in addiction medicine by ABAM, which has active certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) programs.

The National Center builds on and expands other ABAM Foundation initiatives, including one funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to promote training of addiction medicine physicians so that they can be equipped to apply the latest scientific advances to patient care (National Infrastructure for Translating Addiction Research into Clinical Practice). The ABAM Foundation also partnered with the Boston University School of Medicine and Yale University to obtain a five-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to support the training of addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry fellows in clinical research.


Conrad N. Hilton Foundation


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