The University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital is recruiting for the second class of its innovative Addiction Scholars Program. The hospital is looking for 25 hospital health care professionals — physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers and more — who will undergo a 15-month curriculum taught by UAB experts in addiction medicine.
The nations’ ongoing opioid crisis has created a situation in which medical staff in virtually every unit of the hospital can, at some point, expect to find themselves treating patients who are abusing opioids and other drugs.
“We created the Addiction Scholars Program last year as we realized that all of our care providers in UAB Hospital — not just those working in addiction recovery — need to be able to recognize addiction in their patients and be prepared to provide the comprehensive care those patients require,” said Jordan DeMoss, vice president of UAB Hospital.
As the first class nears the end of their instructional period, recruitment is now open for the second class of 25 health care professionals. The Addiction Recovery Program will host an addiction symposium July 20 to serve as a celebration for the first class and to launch the second.
|The nations’ ongoing opioid crisis has created a situation in which medical staff in virtually every unit of the hospital can, at some point, expect to find themselves treating patients who are abusing opioids and other drugs.|
“We are recruiting from across the health care professions, with a particular emphasis on adding more physicians to the scholars program,” DeMoss said.
The first class of scholars began work in spring 2017 with an intense two-day workshop on addiction, followed by monthly meetings to examine additional topics in greater detail. The scholars then created five projects designed to improve care. The results from those projects will be incorporated into standard hospital practice.
The projects the first class tackled are:
- Providing linkage to appropriate continued care for patients seen at the emergency department for overdose or withdrawal
- Early identification/screening of pregnant women in need of addiction services coupled with linkage to care
- Enhanced education on addiction risks and treatment options for admitted patients
- Making naloxone (Narcan) kits available at discharge for patients with opioid issues
- Creating awareness and training materials for continued education of hospital staff
The class members also serve as team leaders within their units, passing on the information they have learned to the rest of the team.
“The ultimate goal is to better prepare our health care professionals for the challenges facing patients with addiction, and to find better ways to connect our patients with timely addiction care to save lives in our community,” DeMoss said. “Our experiences with the first class as they wrap up have proved this in-house educational effort is a valuable resource for improving care to patients facing substance use disorders.”
Hospital staff interested in becoming an addiction scholar should contact Ashlyn Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.