Richard D. Blondell, MD, founded UB’s addiction medicine fellowship, which trains physicians to use evidence-based care in treating and preventing substance abuse.

White House Lists UB as Institution Combating Opioid Epidemic

Published April 6, 2016

According to a fact sheet released by the White House, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is among medical schools nationwide at the forefront of fighting the opioid epidemic.

“UB was an early adopter in terms of instructing our students on safe prescribing.”
Professor of family medicine

The fact sheet was issued in conjunction with President Obama’s announcement that steps are being taken by private sector organizations and medical schools to combat the misuse and abuse of opioids. 

Medical schools have pledged to make students’ graduation requirements include some form of prescriber education in line with the recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.

UB Was ‘Early Adopter’ on Training for Safe Prescribing

The curricula of the school of medicine have long included safe prescribing methods.

“Long before opioid addiction became a front-page issue, faculty in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were leaders in developing formal curricula to teach medical students, residents and fellows how to prevent and treat addiction,” says Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Those efforts were led in large part by Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine.

“UB was an early adopter in terms of instructing our students on safe prescribing,” notes Blondell.

Blondell Founded UB Addiction Medicine Fellowship

Blondell founded the Department of Family Medicine’s addiction medicine fellowship in 2011. It was one of the first of its kind to be accredited by the American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation (ABAMF).

There are now 40 such fellowships throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In 2013, Blondell was appointed director of the National Center for Physician Training in Addiction Medicine, established by the ABAMF.

In addition to researching best practices for training physicians in addiction medicine, he has research expertise in areas including:

  • clinical protocols for patients who have chronic pain disorders coexisting with prescription drug addictions
  • clinical management strategies for pregnant women with prescription drug addictions

Key in Establishing Addiction Medicine Subspecialty

Blondell and other physicians in addiction medicine worked to get the field approved as an established subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties. It was approved in March 2016.

“The approval of this subspecialty creates a pipeline of trained addiction medicine doctors who have undergone rigorous training programs and passed rigorous exams — all of which documents that they are, indeed, experts in preventing and treating addiction,” says Blondell.

Kevin Kunz, MD, past president of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, notes that Blondell and his UB colleagues played a key role.

With a formal letter signed by its president and three past presidents, the board thanked Blondell for his work, concluding: “At the end of the day, or the first thing in the morning, we hope you can reflect with satisfaction on a job steadfastly, professionally pursued and accomplished, which has forever changed the way physicians will be trained to provide compassionate and evidence-based care for addicted patients as fellow beings, not as pariahs shrouded in stigma and ignorance.”

Blondell sees patients through UBMD Family Medicine.