The American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) and The Addiction Medicine Foundation (TAMF) are announcing a major step forward in the integration of the field of Addiction Medicine into routine medical practice.
Starting in the fall of 2017, ABPM will offer more than 850,000 physicians who are certified by a Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) the opportunity to become certified in the subspecialty of Addiction Medicine.
ABMS-certified physicians who subspecialize in Addiction Medicine have expertise in the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of persons with the disease of addiction, of those with substance-related health conditions, and of people who show unhealthy use of substances including nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications and other drugs.
This announcement follows the recognition of the new subspecialty of Addiction Medicine by the ABMS in October, 2015 and the June, 2016 approval of fellowship training in Addiction Medicine by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Thus, in the near future, processes for both physician certification and a training standards accreditation for Addiction Medicine fellowships are expected to be available.
These important milestones with certification and training in Addiction Medicine open the door for the much needed expansion of the physician workforce necessary to ensure the provision of quality prevention and treatment of people with addiction problems.
Substance use and addiction constitute the nation's largest and most costly preventable health problem, accounting for 25 percent of all deaths, contributing to more than 100 other conditions requiring medical attention, and resulting in a wide range of costly social consequences.
To date, 42 Addiction Medicine physician training fellowships have been established. TAMF led the effort to develop these fellowships, setting the initial standards for training in the necessary competencies. While ACGME accreditation is being sought, these fellowship programs continue to train a workforce of physicians capable of providing clinical prevention and treatment services, serving as faculty to train others, and helping to change the culture of our medical schools and health systems to address this important clinical and public health challenge.
ABPM has worked closely with TAMF to develop a smooth transition of the examination and support for the new field, assuring that all ABMS and ABPM standards are met.
Dr. Robert Sokol, TAMF President said: "We worked well together because we understood that our deliberations would, at the most important level, improve the lives of patients, families and communities. Preventive Medicine is the right partner for the Addiction Medicine community because unhealthy substance use and addiction are both preventable and treatable clinical and public health problems."