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An Interprofessional Course on Substance Use Disorders for Health Professions Students

Muzyk, Andrew J. PharmD; Tew, Chris LCAS, LPC, MS; Thomas-Fannin, Allie MD; Dayal, Sanjai MD; Maeda, Reina MD; Schramm-Sapyta, Nicole PhD; Andolsek, Kathryn M. MD, MPH; Holmer, Shelley MD
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001766
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Substance use disorders (SUDs) affect millions of Americans. Nevertheless, there is insufficient health care resource allocation for these patients. One reason may be the lack of education and training about SUDs in health professions programs.


The authors developed a required, interprofessional SUDs course for health professions students completing a one-month psychiatry clerkship within the Duke University Health System starting in November 2015. Students participated in six 1-hour class sessions led by an interdisciplinary faculty. Sessions focused on core areas in SUDs education and used either a lecture with discussion or a small-group team-based learning format. Students completed one motivational interview, attended a 12-step recovery meeting, and wrote a reflection paper. On the first and last day of the clerkship, students measured their attitudes toward individuals with SUDs using the Substance Abuse Attitude Scale (SAAS) and toward interprofessionalism using the Interprofessional Attitudes Scale (IPAS).


Seventy-one students participated in the course from November 2015 to May 2016. Fifty-nine (83%) students had paired pre- and postcourse SAAS and IPAS data. On the SAAS, students showed significant improvement in their median total score and nonmoralizing, treatment optimism, and treatment intervention scores. On the IPAS, students showed significant improvement in their median score on the teamwork, roles, and responsibilities domain.

Next Steps

The authors will continue to assess the course. Starting in academic year 2016–2017, the course will include four additional elements, and beginning in July 2016, accelerated bachelor of science in nursing students will participate in the course.

Funding/Support: The project was funded by an internal research grant from Duke Academy of Health Professions Education and Academic Development from October 2015 through November 2016. Additional funding was provided by the Duke Division of Addiction in the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. No financial support was received for this publication, and none of the authors have sources of financial support relevant to this publication.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: The project was approved by the Duke University Health System Institutional Review Board as exempted educational research.

Correspondence should be addressed to Andrew J. Muzyk, Pharmacy Department, Duke University Hospital, PO Box 3089, Durham, NC 27710; e-mail:

© 2017 by the Association of American Medical Colleges