A new grant will help establish a core of post-graduate addiction medicine education programs in academic medical centers throughout the United States. The National Infrastructure for Translating Addiction Research into Clinical Practice grant, awarded last month to the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, will provide about $900,000 over a two-year period. The grant was awarded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and strengthens the foundation for training clinicians in the emerging specialty of addiction medicine.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to help medical students and residents in a variety of specialties who are interested in addiction medicine apply advances in research to real-world practice,” says NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth Warren, Ph.D.  “This critical investment in our nation’s health will ultimately improve patient care and reduce the medical, social, and financial burden of the addiction disorders.”

“There is a shortage of academically oriented addiction medicine physicians qualified to conduct clinical research on addictions, to translate this research into practice, and to teach medical students and a wide range of residents about addiction in academic medical centers,” says Co-Principal Investigator Richard D. Blondell, M.D., professor of family medicine at the University at Buffalo, N.Y., and chair of the Residency Training and Accreditation  Committee of the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) Foundation.  “This grant will allow established leaders in addiction medicine to help bridge the gap between research and medical education on one hand and clinical practice on the other, and train a new cohort of leaders who will continue to advance the field.”

ABAM Foundation President-Elect Jeffrey Samet, M.D., professor of medicine and community health sciences at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, is also a co-principal investigator on the grant. In addition to Drs. Blondell and Samet, other key members of the ABAM Foundation will be actively involved in the project.

The goals of the project are to establish a National Addiction Medicine Residency Assistance Council (NAMRAC) that will develop standards of excellence for physician training; identify up to 10 addiction medicine model residency programs; and disseminate curricula and related products and recruit new members to NAMRAC so it can serve as an ongoing resource for development of additional addiction medicine residency programs.

The project is designed to rapidly deploy intensive assistance to the model residencies to help them overcome the barriers that frequently thwart new programs. The model residencies, in turn, will produce educational products, including research-to- practice physician education modules that can be used both in physician training and in helping practicing physicians to incorporate the latest knowledge from alcohol and addictions research into their patient care.