Astri Parawita Ayu, Prof. Dr. Nady el-Guebaly, Arnt Schellekens, Cor De Jong, Gabrielle Welle-Strand, William Small, Evan Wood, Walter Culler, & Jan Klimas
Background: Despite the high prevalence of substance use disorders, associated comorbidities and the evidence-base upon which to base clinical practice, most health systems have not invested in standardized training of healthcare providers in addiction medicine. As a result, people with substance use disorders often receive inadequate care, at the cost of quality of life and enormous direct health care costs and indirect societal costs. Therefore, we undertook this study to assess the views of international scholars, representing different countries, on the core set of addiction medicine competencies that need to be covered in medical education. Methods: We interviewed 13 members of the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM), from 12 different countries (37% response rate), over Skype, email survey or in-person - at the annual conference. We content-analysed the interview transcripts, using constant comparison methodology. Results: We identified recommendations related to the core set of the addiction medicine competencies at three educational levels: (i) undergraduate (ii) postgraduate and (iii) continued medical education (CME). The participants described broad ideas, such as knowledge / skills / attitudes towards addiction to be obtained at undergraduate level, or knowledge of addiction treatment to be acquired at graduate level, as well as specific recommendations, including the need to tailor curriculum to national settings and different specialties. Conclusions: While it is unclear whether a global curriculum is needed, a consensus on a core set of principles for progression of knowledge, attitude and skills in addiction medicine to be developed at each educational level amongst medical graduates would likely have substantial value.