UB’s Addiction Medicine Residency Is One of the First Accredited

Published May 31, 2011 This content is archived.

An addiction medicine residency developed by the Department of Family Medicine is one of the first of its kind to be accredited by the American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation.

“Addiction to prescription drugs has become a widespread problem among patients of all ages and, as a result, the need for more specialists to treat these patients has grown. ”
Richard Blondell, MD
Professor, Department of Family Medicine, director of the UB medicine addiction residency program

“Accrediting these and future training programs provides assurance to the American public that addiction medicine physicians have the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and treat addiction,” says Richard Blondell, MD, professor in the Department of Family Medicine, who serves as director of the addiction medicine residency program and chair of the foundation’s Training and Accreditation Committee.

The addiction medicine residency accreditation process is modeled on residencies in other fields, such as cardiology and sleep medicine, he adds.

Increasing Need for Trained Specialists

UB's new training program in addiction medicine, which begins July 1, has been established at a time of increasing promise for addiction treatment and increasing need for trained treatment providers.

Currently there are no addiction medicine residencies among the 8,890 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency programs in the nation’s hospitals. UB's is among the first 10 to be accredited.

These one- or two-year residencies, which have a 12-month core educational component, will include rotations through inpatient and outpatient settings, with electives to round out residents’ training. “Someone coming in with a pediatric background may want to do an elective in taking care of adults, while an internist might want three months in psychiatry,” says Blondell.

Inpatient rotations may include a hospital-based rehabilitation program or medically managed residential program, while outpatient rotations may involve addiction medicine consult services or opioid replacement or maintenance programs.

“One quarter of the program requirements will be determined by the program director, depending on the resources of the community,” Blondell notes. “One medical school might have a really good addiction medicine consultation service that the residents can be assigned to, while in another city a resident may have to rotate through several services, such as psychiatry and pain management, to get a similar experience.”

The impact of the program is expected to be felt as soon as July 2012, when the first graduates, who already have fulfilled the first-year requirements, complete the program.

“There will begin to be formal identity for the specialty,” Blondell explains, “and from that will flow changes in practice patterns, education and the public’s perception of addiction as a medical problem.

“Addiction to prescription drugs has become a widespread problem among patients of all ages and, as a result, the need for more specialists to treat these patients has grown. We hope that these residencies allow more people who suffer with addiction to get the help they need.”

Other Accredited Addiction Medicine Residencies

In addition to the UB residency, the following universities were accredited to provide addiction medicine residencies:

  • Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Mass.
  • Geisinger Health System, Waverly, Pa.
  • St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals, New York, N.Y.
  • University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Fla.
  • University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • University of Cincinnati College of Medicine—VA Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • University of Maryland Medical System, Baltimore, Md.
  • University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wis.