St. Vincent Charity Addiction Medicine Fellowship Receives Accreditation by ABAM Foundation

by Editor Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Eight Addiction Medicine Fellowship Programs Accredited by ABAM Foundation

Total Programs Accredited by American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation Now Stands at 18

The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) Foundation today announced the accreditation of eight addiction medicine fellowship programs, bringing the total number of accredited programs to 18. Physicians who complete an ABAM Foundation fellowship are eligible to sit for the ABAM certification examination in order to become board certified in addiction medicine.

The fellowship programs, which are modeled on the Foundation’s national guidelines, Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Addiction Medicine, are based at leading medical institutions across the U.S. and Canada. Accreditation of these new programs means that there are now 47 addiction medicine fellowship slots available, although some slots are not yet funded.

“These new fellowships will help insure that trained addiction medicine physicians join other addiction professionals in the interdisciplinary care of patients with addictive disorders,” said Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MA, MPH, President, ABAM and ABAM Foundation Board of Directors, and Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. “This clinical training coupled with passage of our rigorous examination will help to provide evidence-based addiction treatment to those who need it.”

The new fellowship programs are located at the Betty Ford Center/Eisenhower Medical Center, Rancho Mirage, CA; Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Hartford Hospital, Middletown, CT; St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, MI; St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Cleveland, OH; Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Stanford, CA; and Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT.

“We greatly value medical education and this ABAM Foundation accreditation acknowledges this,” said James W. Golden, MD, Program Director, Betty Ford Center Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program. “We take this very seriously and are ready to step up to the plate to do the vital work necessary to educate physicians on the prevention and treatment of addictive disorders and medical and psychiatric complications of addiction. This accreditation is a validation that the Betty Ford Center has the expertise in both faculty and staff to accomplish this.”

The new fellowship programs join those located at Saint Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals, Addiction Institute of New York; Boston University Medical Center; University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; Geisinger Health System at Marworth, Waverly, PA; University of Minnesota Medical School; New York University School of Medicine; The University at Buffalo (SUNY) School of Medicine; University of Florida; University of Maryland School of Medicine; and the University of Wisconsin.

“Our workforce projections suggest that, by 2020, we will need 50 addiction medicine fellowship training programs with 200 physician slots,” 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. “One of the main obstacles to establishing these programs is funding.”

The ABAM Foundation-accredited fellowship programs provide subspecialty training, which is offered to physicians already trained in a specialty such as internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, emergency medicine, surgery, preventive medicine, or obstetrics and gynecology. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology offers its own fellowships in the psychiatry subspecialty of addiction psychiatry. There are 45 addiction psychiatry fellowship programs in the U.S.

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. Expanded coverage and demand for addiction medicine physicians will increase, as 30 million formerly uninsured Americans become covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Accrediting these and future training programs will help to assure the American public that addiction physician specialists 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.

Historically, physician training in addiction medicine has been lacking. Separate courses in addiction medicine are rarely taught in medical school, and there are no addiction medicine residencies among the 8,887 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency programs in the nation’s hospitals. Prior to ABAM’s formation, only the specialty of psychiatry offered sub-specialized training and certification in addictions. Once the Foundation has demonstrated that its fellowships meet ACGME criteria, it 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’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 16 distinguished physicians from a range of medical specialties, each of whom is certified by a member board of the ABMS. For more information, visit the American Board of Addiction Medicine's website.