Addiction Awareness Week shines light on complex nature of the disease

January 28, 2013

When Elizabeth Rourke attended the student medical education series at the Betty Ford Center last May, she felt compelled to reach out to a larger group, particularly her classmates, to bring awareness to addiction. This week, her efforts bear fruit as the Medical Student Government Association hosts the first Addiction Awareness Week – a four-day dinner series centered on addiction.

Rourke, Vice President of the Medical Student Government Association and the TCOM Class of 2014, says, "As future physicians it’s our job to be able to discuss the subject and find ways to not become part of the problem." 

Each session will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Medical Education and Training building at the Health Science Center.

Monday January 28: "Addiction the Disease" – a video presentation by Dr. Harry Haroutnian, Addiction Specialist at the Betty Ford Center

  • An introduction to the topic from a biological and physiological standpoint, this event will provide a foundation to begin understanding the complex nature of addiction.

Tuesday January 29:  Caduceus Meeting

  • Hear from medical professionals on their personal history with addiction. Time will be reserved at the end of the session for questions from the audience.

Wednesday January 30: Expert Lecture

  • Dr. Alan Podawiltz, DO, Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, will detail the addictive process, ethics and responsibilities of physicians and a treatment overview.

Thursday January 31: Process Groups

  • Students who attended the weeklong course at the Betty Ford Center will lead small group discussion. Many intimate aspects of addiction will be addressed.

"I hope that students will have a better understanding of addiction as a disease process and gain some tools and insight on how to approach the discussion with patients," Rourke says. "I think it’s also important that we learn how to protect ourselves from addiction, since we will all work in a very demanding field with access to drugs on a daily basis."

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