In 2016, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized Addiction Medicine as a new subspecialty. In anticipation of this, and to assure that the development of this field would include physicians committed to addiction research, the Research in Addiction Medicine Scholars (RAMS) Program was created in 2012 with this original NIDA R-25 award. The paucity of well-trained addiction physician researchers limits scientific advancement, risking missed opportunities to explore optimal approaches to care for patients with substance use disorders. Furthermore, physicians trained in Addiction Medicine must be poised to provide leadership related to their expertise in their academic medical centers and communities. The RAMS Program seeks to continue and improve on its mission to strengthen the next generation of addiction physician researchers and leaders in healthcare. Currently US fellowship programs exist in both Addiction Medicine (n=41) and Addiction Psychiatry (n=45). These fellows are the source of RAM Scholars as the program takes place during fellowship training. In this renewal application, we continue and enhance the mission of the RAMS Program to bolster addiction research training for fellows at local fellowship sites with a combination of intensive annual in-person trainings in Boston and at the College of Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) national conference as well as in monthly webinars. The RAMS Program supports a new cadre of addiction physician researchers by meaningfully encouraging physician careers in addiction research through training and mentorship. The Program Directors (PDs) and staff will pursue the following Specific Aims: 1) Provide clinical research training over 2 years to 5 addiction subspecialty physicians (RAM Scholars) and over 1 year to 1-2 chief residents (Junior Scholars) interested in addiction research, selected annually, through retreats, webinars, and research-in-progress sessions. 2) Augment institutional mentoring of addiction subspecialty physicians on research projects and career trajectory by establishing mentorship relationships between Scholars and nationally recognized researchers (RAMS National Advisory Committee [NAC]) and the RAMS Program research methodologist. 3 Provide leadership training for addiction subspecialty physicians (RAM Scholars) by introducing physicians to the concepts and skills necessary for future academic leadership roles within organizations and community. The Research in Addiction Medicine Scholars (RAMS) Program will accelerate the progress of its important mission of developing the next generation of addiction physician researchers in order to advance the knowledge base to provide better care for patients with, and at risk for, addictive diseases, by supporting trainees as the clinical training of addiction physicians continues to expand nationally.
The Research in Addiction Medicine Scholars (RAMS) Program is significant because it engages trainees who are future leaders and clinical researchers in the expanding subspecialty training of addiction medicine, seeking to improve patient care and reduce the medical, social, and financial burden of people with, and at risk for, substance use disorders.
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