Addiction medicine training program to be offered to physician assistants, nurse practitioners

By Francie Williamson, Communications Coordinator, Department of Psychiatry

Thanks to a federal grant, more providers will soon be able to train in addiction medicine at the Roy A. and Lucille J. Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa.

The $2.25 million award from the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) will help fund a one-year training program for physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners. Alison Lynch, MD, MS, clinical professor of psychiatry and family medicine and director of addiction medicine at UI Health Care, says the program will be similar to one that was created for physicians in 2020.

“The grant provides funding for two trainees per year for five years,” Lynch says. “During that year, they will get experience with inpatient and outpatient addiction and get some exposure to behavioral health care and how that integrates with addiction. They’ll also get some experience with community-based programs and treatment programs. The goal is to train providers who will then go out and use their addiction medicine knowledge in community-based settings.”

How the program will work

Andrea Weber, MD, MME, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and internal medicine and assistant director of addiction medicine at UI Health Care, will serve as program director for the one-year training program, and Ben Miskle, PharmD, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and science, will serve as assistant program director. Lynch says recruitment for the training program has begun, and they are hopeful to launch the program soon. Anyone interested in applying can contact Weber directly.

Lynch says those who wish to take part in the training program don’t have to directly come from an education setting.

“It can be somebody who is just finishing their training, or someone who’s been practicing and wants to come back and get more training in addiction,” Lynch says.

Why they added the program

Adding this training program seems like a natural fit to the addiction medicine program at UI Health Care, Lynch says.

“We've been growing our addiction programming here and we've got a number of people who are really passionate about both providing care for people with substance use disorders and also training the next generation of health care providers who work with people that have substance use disorders,” Lynch says. “There’s a lot of communities in Iowa where the majority of care that is provided is from PAs and nurse practitioners, so it’s a critical part of the workforce in the state.” 

Lynch adds that addiction medicine is vastly underrepresented across medical specialties, and this training program will hopefully begin to fill the gap. 

“We need as many people as possible with training and comfort and skills to address the various addiction crises that are going on,” Lynch says.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022