Aspiring Doctors Seek Advanced Training in Addiction Medicine

Kaiser Health News (03/22/19) Stone, Will

The opioid epidemic throws a profound shortage of board-certified addiction specialists into sharp relief, and it is motivating medical institutions across the United States to set up fellowships for aspiring addiction doctors. About 60 fellowship programs are currently in operation, offering physicians a year or two of postgraduate training in clinics and hospitals to learn evidence-based approaches for addiction treatment. One medical resident planning to pursue an addiction medicine fellowship is Dr. Hillary Tamar, who envisions the specialty as a way to build sustained relationships with patients and concentrate on more than a single diagnosis. Stanford University's Dr. Anna Lembke foresees more doctors studying addiction medicine because they care about social justice. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education started accrediting its first series of addiction medicine fellowship programs in 2018, following the American Board of Medical Specialties' recognition in 2015 of addiction medicine as a subspecialty. "At least the medical community has begun to wake up to consider not only their role in triggering this opioid epidemic, but also the ways they need to step up to solve the problem," Lembke says.

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