The recognition of Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties is a critical component of the response to the public health crisis of addiction.
Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) May 04, 2016
The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) applauds the landmark announcement by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) that it will recognize Addiction Medicine as a new subspecialty. As specialists in managing drug toxicity and overdoses, ACMT physician members encounter individuals with substance use disorders across the spectrum of their addiction - from experimentation and intoxication to overdose and withdrawal and through relapse and recovery. Dr. Timothy Wiegand, a specialist in both Medical Toxicology and Addiction Medicine who leads the ACMT Addiction Medicine Section, states “the recognition of Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties is a critical component of the response to the public health crisis of addiction. This recognition will promote education and training in the field of addictions so that a physician workforce will develop with the requisite skill and training necessary to effectively identify, prevent and treat individuals with addiction.”
The American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM), a Member Board of ABMS, sponsored the application for the new field to be a multispecialty subspecialty – meaning that physicians certified by any Member Board of the ABMS can become certified in addiction medicine. The ABMS subspecialty recognition of Addiction Medicine has been championed by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), which has established a certification examination and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process for addiction medicine physicians.
Addiction Medicine has become an increasingly important practice pathway for Medical Toxicologists. Over the past few years thirty-four physicians, nearly 8% of all currently Board Certified Medical Toxicologists, have passed the ABAM sponsored Board Certification exam and are now dual certified in Addiction Medicine. This area of focus in Medical Toxicology has become increasingly important for Medical Toxicologists to expand their practice and incorporate more content in addictions not only clinically but academically and in research activities as well. Addiction Medicine is one of the six identified practice pathways that a Medical Toxicologist can develop in professionally.
“This is a great day for addiction medicine,” said Robert J. Sokol, MD, President of ABAM and The Addiction Medicine Foundation (formerly The ABAM Foundation). “This landmark event, more than any other, recognizes addiction as a preventable and treatable disease, helping to shed the stigma that has long plagued it. It sends a strong message to the public that American medicine is committed to providing expert care for this disease and services designed to prevent the risky substance use that precedes it.”
Addiction medicine is defined as the prevention of the risky use of substances, including nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications and other licit and illicit drugs, and the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and management of the disease of addiction and related health conditions. Physicians specializing in this field also help family members whose health and functioning are affected by a loved one’s substance use or addiction.
Certification by an ABMS-recognized specialty or subspecialty is considered the “gold standard” in physician credentialing, assuring patients that their physician meets the highest standards of practice and clinical knowledge, and has completed an approved educational program and process.
“This recognition by ABMS will help assure patients and their families that the care they receive is grounded in science and evidence-based practice,” added Patrick G. O’Connor, MD, MPH, Immediate Past President of ABAM, who worked closely with APBM and the ABMS Member Boards to help achieve this landmark event. “It will also mean more visibility for this subspecialty among medical students and residents, and will ultimately increase the number of physicians who are trained and certified as addiction medicine specialists.”
The Addiction Medicine Foundation has supported the establishment of 40 addiction medicine fellowship training programs to date, based at major medical schools and hospitals across North America, and is committed to establishing a total of 125 fellowship programs by 2025. ABMS recognition opens the door for these fellowships to obtain accreditation through the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), a process already underway.
About The American College of Medical Toxicology
ACMT is a professional, non-profit association of physicians with recognized expertise in medical toxicology. The ACMT mission is to advance quality care of poisoned patients and public health through physicians who specialize in consultative, emergency, environmental, forensic, and occupational toxicology. For more information, visit http://www.acmt.net, or follow on Twitter @acmt.