NIDA has established four Centers of Excellence for Physician Information to increase physicians' awareness of NIDA-funded research on the medical consequences of drug abuse and addiction and to provide the information and resources that doctors need to incorporate research findings into clinical practice.
The Centers are also developing standards for physician competencies as well as training curricula to prepare medical students and residents to assess patients' drug abuse issues in their eventual practice settings. Pilot testing of several curricula was scheduled to begin last fall.
The Centers were established in collaboration with the American Medical Association's consortium on education research. They are based at:
- Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska;
- the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in collaboration with Drexel University School of Medicine, both in Philadelphia;
- the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Grand Forks; and
- the Massachusetts Consortium of Medical Schools, which includes the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester and Boston University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance, and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
"This has been an ambitious and challenging effort," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "Yet the NIDA Centers have made meaningful strides in identifying how and where medical students and resident physicians obtain information about medical drug abuse issues and also in identifying misperceptions and knowledge gaps that may hinder the effective care of patients who abuse prescription and illicit drugs."