George Washington University is committed to training health professionals who will make an impact in the lives of those with substance use disorders. An interprofessional team of educators (with relevant clinical and research experience) from the Schools of Medicine & Health Sciences, Nursing, and Public Health will create a flexible, dynamic, evidence-based curriculum for the Expansion of Practitioner Education in Substance Use Disorders (EPE-SUDs) program.
The program will target health professions students from schools across the institution, including the following: medicine, physician assistant, physical therapy, nursing, and public health programs. We will train a total of 1820 students over the two year grant project, or 910 students each year (e.g. 170 MD, 65 PA, 50 PT, 325 nursing, 300 public health).
The primary goal of the project is to expand the number of healthcare practitioners that are competent to deliver high-quality, evidence-based SUD treatment. A secondary goal is to make widely available to health professional education programs effective educational resources and evaluative tools on the prevention, recognition and evidence-based treatment of SUDs. At the end of the program, trainees will be able to describe the neurobiology of addiction, recognize social determinants of health and their role in health and SUD, recognize and respond to barriers to care, define stigma and its impact on treatment access/acceptance/adherence, demonstrate culturally-responsive communication skills, identify SUDs using screening tools, use patient-centered productive language, articulate influences of unconscious bias, outline motivational interviewing principles and techniques, develop referral plans, formulate interprofessional evidence-based treatment plans, and enumerate major dimensions that support recovery.
Achieving these goals and objectives will be realized by assembling an interprofessional curriculum advisory group of faculty from the target health professions programs, who will support curriculum design, implementation, and sustainability planning. The proposed curriculum is responsive to major training gaps, incorporates skills-based, experiential activities with case-based learning, lectures, and asynchronous didactics developed by clinical experts and instructional designers. A common institutional learning management system will house curricular content to facilitate seamless implementation, data collection/evaluation, and curriculum modification/revision. Unique strategies include incorporating people with lived experience and their families as well as advocacy topics into learning activities, and supplementing the student curriculum with professional development for faculty that includes simulated training for instructors. Addressing perceived knowledge and skill gaps among both students and instructors is key to overall success and sustainability of the curriculum. Program monitoring will include quantity and quality measures looking at utilization of program components and programmatic organizational functioning and will examine trends over time.