Nation’s First Addiction Medicine Residencies Accredited

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The American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation today accredited 10 training programs, the nation’s first post-graduate addiction medicine residencies for physicians. The Foundation also released its Program Requirements and Curriculum Objectives, national guidelines for addiction medicine residencies.

Training coupled with passage of our rigorous examination will help assure that evidence-based addiction treatment is available to all who need it.

The American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation today accredited 10 training programs, the nation’s first post-graduate addiction medicine residencies for physicians. The Foundation also released its Program Requirements and Curriculum Objectives, national guidelines for addiction medicine residencies.

Trained addiction medicine physicians will now join other addiction professionals in the interdisciplinary care of patients with addictive disorders. Physician specialists in addiction medicine will bring unique skills and competencies to the treatment team, using all appropriate treatment modalities to contribute to prevention and the care of individuals and families.

“Training coupled with passage of our rigorous examination will help assure that evidence-based addiction treatment is available to all who need it,” said Kevin Kunz, MD, ABAM Foundation President. “Patients will have access to specialized medical care for substance use disorders related to alcohol, tobacco and other addicting drugs, including some prescription medications.”

The new training programs have been established at a time of increasing promise for addiction treatment, and 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, and more are on the horizon. The demand for addiction medicine physicians will increase, as 30 million formerly uninsured Americans (including many in need of addiction treatment) will have health insurance under the health care reform law signed last year.

“Accrediting these and future training programs will provide assurance to the American public that addiction medicine physicians have the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and treat addiction, and that trained physicians are available to address common medical or psychiatric conditions related to the use of addictive substances,” said Richard Blondell, MD, Chair of the Foundation’s Training and Accreditation Committee, and Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine.

Physician training in addiction medicine is sorely lacking. Separate courses in addiction medicine are rarely taught in medical school, and there are no addiction medicine residencies among the 8,890 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency programs in the nation’s hospitals. Prior to ABAM’s formation, only one medical specialty (psychiatry) offered sub-specialized training and certification in addictions. Once the Foundation has demonstrated that the residencies meet the ACGME criteria, the Foundation will apply to the ACGME to accredit them.

The ABAM Foundation’s purpose is to establish and accredit addiction medicine training programs and support the mission of the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM). ABAM’s mission is to improve the quality of care in the medical specialty of addiction medicine, establish standards and procedures, and certify physicians as experts in this specialized field of medical practice. ABAM's goal is to have a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) certify physicians in addiction medicine. ABAM and The ABAM Foundation are governed by 15 distinguished physicians from a range of medical specialties, each of whom is certified by a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

A list of ABAM Foundation-accredited residencies follows. For more information on The ABAM Foundation and on ABAM, visit http://www.abam.net.

Addiction Medicine Residency Training Programs

Boston University Medical Center
Boston, MA    
Residency Director: Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

Geisinger Health System
Marworth Treatment Center
Waverly, PA    
Residency Director: David J. Withers, MD

The St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals
New York, NY    
Residency Director: Petros Levounis, MD, MA

University at Buffalo School of Medicine
Department of Family Medicine
Buffalo, NY    
Residency Director: Richard D. Blondell, MD

University of Florida College of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
Gainesville, FL    
Residency Director: Scott A. Teitelbaum, MD, FAAP, FASAM

University of Hawai'i
John A. Burns School of Medicine
Honolulu, HI    
Residency Director: William F. Haning, III, MD, FASAM, DFAPA

University Hospital, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
VA Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH    
Residency Director: Shannon C. Miller, MD, FASAM, FAPA

University of Maryland Medical System
Sheppard Pratt
Baltimore, MD    
Residency Director: Devang H. Gandhi, MBBS, MD, FASAM

University of Minnesota Medical School
Department of Psychiatry
Minneapolis, MN    
Residency Director: Sheila M. Specker, MD

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Center for Addictive Disorders
Madison, WI    
Residency Director: Randall T. Brown, MD, PhD

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