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Drexel University College of Medicine Named Center of Excellence for Drug Abuse Education

January 31, 2007

Drexel University College of Medicine, in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been selected as one of four academic medical sites to serve as national Centers of Excellence for Physician Information by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The centers will function as national models to support the advancement of addiction awareness, prevention, and treatment in primary care specialties such as internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics. The centers will target physicians-in-training, including medical students and residents, to identify what they should learn about substance abuse and to develop curriculum that will help physicians identify, assess, and refer patients with substance abuse disorders.

“While substance abuse disorders are a major cause of disability and death nationally, and the medical complications of these disorders heavily burden the healthcare system, most medical schools provide only minimal substance abuse education to students and residents in primary care,” said Barbara Schindler, MD, vice dean for Educational and Academic Affairs and professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine, who is co-principal investigator for the Drexel/Penn Center of Excellence. “Drexel University College of Medicine has integrated substance abuse education into many of the clinical cases used in our curriculum, providing specific lectures, resource sessions and clinical skills experiences that focus on evaluating and treating patients with addictive disorders.”

Dr. Schindler and colleagues at Drexel University College of Medicine currently have several drug abuse research projects and specialized clinical care programs underway, including studies into the effects of maternal cocaine addiction on infants and children, and the treatment of women with co-morbid addictive and psychiatric disorders.

Drexel and the other Centers of Excellence will explore a variety of drug abuse topics, including prescription drug abuse, methamphetamine abuse and addiction, and substance abuse among people with mental illness. The centers will identify knowledge gaps about drug addiction, develop educational materials and resources to address those gaps, and determine the most effective means of delivering this information.

In addition to the Drexel University College of Medicine/University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine site, NIDA Centers of Excellence will be located at the Creighton University School of Medicine; the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences;  and the Massachusetts Consortium of Medical Schools, which includes the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance.