How to Choose a Fellowship in Addiction Medicine

Your fellowship in addiction medicine sets the stage for the rest of your career, so make sure you choose a well-respected academic program with the six attributes listed below.

Top Characteristics of Superior Fellowships

1. One-on-one Mentorship

Select a fellowship that offers one-on-one mentorship from dedicated faculty.

Enrolling in a program with dedicated mentoring maximizes your opportunities for individualized attention from faculty and a wealth of unopposed, hands-on clinical encounters during your rotations.

Make sure the program you’re interested in pairs you with a dedicated preceptor during your continuity clinic — a physician who shares your clinic schedule and guides your progress.

2. Tailored Training

Rather than a one-size-fits-all training experience, steer toward a program that lets you tailor your education to your professional goals.

Faculty should guide you to electives that complement your clinical interests — or create new electives just for you. If you desire more in-depth training in a particular treatment modality or with a particular patient population, you should be able to repeat rotations as electives.

Make sure your electives fall at the end of your training, giving you the time to determine where and how you want to dedicate your energy and talents.  Find a fellowship that allows opportunities outside the institution. 

3. Diverse Clinical Experiences

Training in a single clinical setting typically exposes you to a single model of care and a narrow patient base.

But when you train in a variety of clinical training sites, you learn about numerous treatment modalities and care for a broad patient base, preparing you to practice in any setting you choose.

4. Nationally Recognized Leadership

All of our faculty have been trained under the mentorship of Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo.

He is a nationally recognized leader who helped develop addiction medicine training at fellowships nationwide. He remains in the Buffalo area and continues to mentor our community in academic and research pursuits. 

What’s more, we invite our fellows to work with Dr. Blondell and learn the skills to position yourself as a national leader while you’re still training with us.

5. Research Opportunities

A university-based fellowship in a large academic department translates into rich research prospects for you.

You will find many experts researchers and ongoing projects through our Primary Care Research Institute (PCRI) and Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions (RIA).

Our faculty have grants supporting a range of interests, including addiction medicine training in primary care settings, integration of hepatitis C treatment into methadone clinics, and community interventions targeting opioid overdose mortality. 

If you’re interested in research, we’ll pair you with a faculty researcher early in your fellowship, giving you the resources to develop into a confident independent investigator.

6. Comfortable Living Environment

You want to feel at home in your fellowship program, so make sure it’s located in a comfortable city with a high quality of life.

Determine whether the region you’re considering can boast affordable housing and is easy to get around.

You also should look into its cultural and recreational attractions, as well as the dining scene, for those well-deserved occasions when you can unwind.