The number of US citizens with substance use disorders or where substance use contributes to other health disorders is expected to continue to be high over the next several decades. Programs are needed to provide trainees with the skills to conduct research that helps prevent and treat substance use disorders. Physician scientists bring a unique perspective to substance use research and are a critical component of future advances in this area. This program will focus on recruiting and training medical students, preparing them for careers as substance use researchers. The program includes both core and individualized curricular components. Core curricular components include a seminar on substance use and disease, an ongoing work-in-progress seminar with both faculty and trainee involvement, and a seminar related to the Responsible Conduct of Research. The individualized curricular components include both class work and direct project experience, including dissemination, mentored by an experienced substance use researcher. Both short-term intensive and longitudinal training components are included;students will enter the program as first-year medical students and be involved in the program over all 4 years of medical school. Two new students per year will be recruited for a total of four students in the program at any one time. There will be ongoing evaluation of the program including both student feedback and outcome assessment. This will include short (e.g student satisfaction), intermediate (early publication and attitude changes), and long-term (long-term publication rates and success at receiving research grants) outcomes. A Senior Advisory Board will provide oversight for the program and ensure use of the outcome data for ongoing quality improvement of the program.
Substance use continues to be a major contributor to decreased health. Physician scientists add a unique and critical perspective to research that helps prevent and treat substance use disorders and the sequela of those disorders. This program will recruit and train medical students for careers as leaders in substance use research.