Training program bolsters UNTHSC students’ knowledge of addiction issues

Most American medical schools provide only a few hours of training on addiction issues even though 10 percent of the population is diagnosed with substance abuse disorder, said Joseph Skrajewski, Director of Medical Education at the Betty Ford Institute.

But in a partnership with the Betty Ford Institute, UNT Health Science Center seeks to improve its students’ understanding of addiction and how to treat its medical ramifications.

Skrajewski was on campus last week to participate in UNTHSC’s Addiction Awareness Week. He spoke about the complex nature of addiction.

UNTHSC was one of the first medical centers to send students and faculty to the Institute to participate in a medical education program that Skrajewski said is designed to "expand the participants’ awareness and understanding of chemical dependency and its treatment for individuals and families through a true immersion program."

"We at the Betty Ford Institute have laid the foundation for advancing medical education on addiction by providing 60 hours of training in a week-long immersion program," Skrajewski said. "The reality is that this is needed at all medical schools."

Talon Minor, a third year student in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine who has attended the Betty Ford program, said the experience gave him "an understanding of this real disease and the confidence to face this taboo subject in order to help friends, family members and especially future patients achieve the recovery they deserve."

"This is what I am hoping to bring to the future physicians being trained here at TCOM," he said.

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