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Use of an Internet-Based Curriculum to Teach Internal Medicine Residents About Addiction

Rastegar, Darius A. MD; Bertram, Amanda MS; Sisson, Stephen D. MD

Journal of Addiction Medicine: December 2010 - Volume 4 - Issue 4 - p 233-235
doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e3181cc9fc7
Original Article

Objectives: Addiction is an important and common health problem. Many internal medicine training programs do not offer structured training in addiction; as a result, residents often report feeling unprepared in caring for patients with this problem. We developed an Internet-based curriculum to teach internal medicine residents about evaluating and treating patients with substance use disorders.

Methods: Three educational modules on addiction were developed and posted on an established Web site that provides an internal medicine curriculum for training programs throughout the United States. Baseline and posttest questions were tested and validated by having house officers and addiction medicine faculty members complete the tests. We compared baseline pretest scores between first (PGY-1) and third year (PGY-3) residents to assess baseline knowledge and pretest and posttest scores for the entire cohort to assess the impact of the modules.

Results: Each module was completed by over 1200 residents at 86 different training programs. Although overall baseline pretest scores were better among PGY-3 than PGY-1 residents (mean 58% vs 55%; P < 0.05), the difference between the 2 groups for individual modules was not significant. The mean baseline pretest score was 56.4% and posttest score was 74.8%, a difference that was statistically significant (P < 0.001). When asked to rate the educational value of the program, the residents gave it a mean score of 4.2 on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = not instructive; 5 = highly instructive).

Conclusions: Internet-based curricula can be an effective tool to disseminate knowledge on addiction to trainees. Learners show an improvement in testing scores and rate these programs highly.

From the Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Received for publication September 25, 2009; accepted November 16, 2009.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Darius A. Rastegar, MD, Center for Chemical Dependence, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, D2W, 5200 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224. e-mail:

© 2010 American Society of Addiction Medicine