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Subst Abus. 2012;33(3):286-91. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2011.640090.

A collaborative approach to teaching medical students how to screen, intervene, and treat substance use disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Few medical schools require a stand-alone course to develop knowledge and skills relevant to substance use disorders (SUDs). The authors successfully initiated a new course for second-year medical students that used screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) as the course foundation. The 15-hour course (39 faculty teaching hours) arose from collaboration between faculty in Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry and included 5 hours of direct patient interaction during clinical demonstrations and in small-group skills development. Pre- and post-exam results suggest that the course had a significant impact on knowledge about SUDs. The authors' experience demonstrates that collaboration between 2 clinical departments can produce a successful second-year medical student course based in SBIRT principles.

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