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Open Access Research article

Providing competency-based family medicine residency training in substance abuse in the new millennium: a model curriculum

J Paul Seale*, Sylvia Shellenberger and Denice Crowe Clark

Author Affiliations

Department of Family Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine & Medical Center of Central Georgia, 3780 Eisenhower Parkway, Macon, GA 31206, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:33  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-33

Published: 11 May 2010

Abstract

Background

This article, developed for the Betty Ford Institute Consensus Conference on Graduate Medical Education (December, 2008), presents a model curriculum for Family Medicine residency training in substance abuse.

Methods

The authors reviewed reports of past Family Medicine curriculum development efforts, previously-identified barriers to education in high risk substance use, approaches to overcoming these barriers, and current training guidelines of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and their Family Medicine Residency Review Committee. A proposed eight-module curriculum was developed, based on substance abuse competencies defined by Project MAINSTREAM and linked to core competencies defined by the ACGME. The curriculum provides basic training in high risk substance use to all residents, while also addressing current training challenges presented by U.S. work hour regulations, increasing international diversity of Family Medicine resident trainees, and emerging new primary care practice models.

Results

This paper offers a core curriculum, focused on screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment, which can be adapted by residency programs to meet their individual needs. The curriculum encourages direct observation of residents to ensure that core skills are learned and trains residents with several "new skills" that will expand the basket of substance abuse services they will be equipped to provide as they enter practice.

Conclusions

Broad-based implementation of a comprehensive Family Medicine residency curriculum should increase the ability of family physicians to provide basic substance abuse services in a primary care context. Such efforts should be coupled with faculty development initiatives which ensure that sufficient trained faculty are available to teach these concepts and with efforts by major Family Medicine organizations to implement and enforce residency requirements for substance abuse training.