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Medical Education's Active Response to the Opioid Epidemic

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Opioid misuse has devastated communities across the country, and a collaborative effort is needed to stem the tide of opioid and substance use disorders (SUDs). Through their missions of education, research, and clinical care, the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals are actively responding to this public health crisis and preparing the next generation of health care professionals to address the epidemic. 

Proposed legislation would address the national crisis, and help these institutions, by ending a freeze in Medicare support and adding 1,000 graduate medical education positions over the next five years in hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.

With respect to education specifically, institutions are working with their communities and enhancing content on substance use disorders and pain management, integrating learning opportunities across the medical education continuum.

The AAMC supports their work by sharing successful practices, approaches, and responses among educators, clinicians, and future physicians. As part of this effort, and in response to ongoing assessments of the needs of the academic medicine community, we developed a series of strategic activities to further enhance collaboration and sharing of educational practices, including three opportunities intended for educators.

UC Davis Research Team Commissioned for Competitive Systematic Review Through AAMC/NIDA Partnership

As part of the AAMC’s ongoing efforts to support its members in advancing educational practices in pain management and substance use disorders (SUDs), a new systematic review of recent evidence-based practices is underway! The association has partnered with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to commission a systematic literature review of health care professionals’ bias and stigma related to substance use disorders and the evidence for mitigation efforts. A large number of very strong proposals from a range of AAMC member medical schools in the U.S. and Canada were submitted for consideration and the selected team from UC Davis has exceptional experience in conducting systematic reviews and the relevant subject matter. The one-year project will commence summer 2021. For more information, contact Adrien M. Barrios.

Below find more information about the selected research team and the research project.

UC Davis School of Medicine

Title: A Systematic Review on Bias and Stigma Among Health Care Professionals Toward Patients with Substance Use Disorders and Interventions to Reduce this Stigma and Bias

Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Magnan, MD, PhD
Research Team: Meghan Weyrich, MPH, Marykate Miller, MS, Bruce Abbott, MLS, Stephen Henry, MD, MSc, Mark Servis, MD, Aimee Moulin, MD, MAS, Puja Chadha, MD, Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH, Melissa Gosdin, PhD, Sarah Spivak, MS2

The UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) has an exceptionally skilled team of faculty and staff who have years of experience in conducting systematic reviews and one of CHPR’s four primary research programs focuses on substance use. Therefore, a systematic review looking at how stigma and bias impact the health of patients with substance use disorder and ways to mitigate this is a high-priority topic for CHPR.

As part of these activities, faculty clinicians, a medical research librarian, research analysts, a sociologist and a medical student will conduct a systematic review to collate available empirical evidence from diverse medical journals; present the findings using explicit, systematic methods; and provide a reliable summary of findings and actionable conclusions. The results of the review may be used to inform gap areas in medical school curricula, reduce health disparities and provide optimal, equitable care for patients with SUD.

Curricular Innovation Awards

Four institutions were recently awarded 2019 Curricular Innovation Awards: Duke University, Honor Health, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Learn more about their projects and previous award winners

The awards, funded, in part, by the Samueli Foundation, recognize and highlight the innovative ways our members are working to advance the education of students, residents, and practicing physicians about opioids, substance use disorder, and pain management. Winners receive $2,500 each in recognition of their work. They also are encouraged to submit their efforts to MedEdPORTAL for peer-reviewed publication.

If you have any questions, contact CurricularInnovation@aamc.org.

AAMC National Workshop to Advance Medical Education to Combat Opioid Misuse: Working Together Across the Continuum (May 9-10, 2019)

The AAMC hosted a national workshop in May 2019 – in collaboration with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), and supported, in part, by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – to bring together teams of representatives from medical schools and teaching hospitals, as well as individuals from other stakeholder organizations, to advance educational content related to pain and addiction within undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education. Participants will continue to integrate their learnings into their work at their institutions over the next year or more.

The specific goals of this unique workshop included:

  • Identifying what is working well and areas for improvement in the teaching and assessment of students, residents, fellows and/or faculty in opioid practices as well as assessment and management of pain and substance use disorders.
  • Serving as a catalyst to disseminate knowledge, resources, and organizational action across the medical education continuum.
  • Fostering an inclusive and mutually supportive network of educators across the traditionally siloed continuum of UME, GME, and CME.

2019 Challenge Grants Announced

Nine institutions were awarded funding to develop tools and resources that support improving faculty and learner proficiencies in the areas of pain management and addiction. The grantees were funded in part by the Samueli Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and include:

Samueli Foundation Awardees

  • Penn State College of Medicine
  • The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont
  • The University of Florida College of Medicine
  • The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Workforce Improvement Project Sub-Awardees

  • HonorHealth and Arizona State University
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
  • Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University
  • Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine (ZSOM) at Hofstra/Northwell

Call for Submissions: Opioids Education Resources

To foster collaboration by educators and their partners to advance pain management, addiction medicine, and opioid education, the AAMC is seeking submissions for a resource collection. Examples of appropriate resources may include checklists, worksheets, lesson plans, cases, or lecture outlines. To submit your resource: https://www.mededportal.org/opioids

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