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Mentoring helps physicians publish more peer-reviewed papers, study says

Physician scientists help advance the science of addiction medicine, yet prior studies have not looked at better ways of increasing publication productivity of early-career physicians working in this field.

Why we need more doctors trained in addictions research

Medical professionals trained in addiction-medicine research are in short supply across Canada, including British Columbia. The B.C. Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), has published evaluation of an International Collaborative Addiction Medicine Research Fellowship to address the ongoing problem in this province.

Led by Dr. Jan Klimas, PhD, who’s a Research Scientist at the University of British Columbia, the study entitled “Impact of the International Collaborative Addiction Medicine Research Fellowship on physicians’ future engagement in addiction research” was published in the January 2022 issue of the Substance Abuse.

Using the scientific articles published by the International Collaborative Addiction Medicine Research Fellowship trained fellows – compared with physicians who did not take the fellowship – the researchers identified over a six-year period, that trained physicians published 11 times (239) more peer-reviewed papers than the untrained physicians (21).

At the time the study was completed in June 2020, 25 physicians have been trained in the one-year research fellowship since 2014. Those who published a paper before starting the fellowship, and who had experience in research, had higher chances of publishing papers as first authors.

How mentored physician research training improves (patient) addictions care

There is a clear need for addiction-research training and education to increase addiction competency among health care providers internationally. Increasing availability of science-trained physicians is going to increase the implementation of modern treatments in health care settings.

Led by Dr. Nadia Fairbairn, who has recently completed the training, the program is committed to fostering an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and applications are open to all individuals regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, culture, or socioeconomic background. This one-year intensive fellowship for health professionals with pre-existing clinical experience in addiction medicine emphasizes individualized mentorship teams and hands-on research experience, taking advantage of an extensive NIDA-funded platform of qualitative, observational and experimental research.

Report offers key evidence that fellowship training improves clinicians’ research skills to bridge addiction care gaps

While fentanyl and other drugs continue to drive the illicit drug related poisoning epidemic in BC, having clinicians who understand science behind medications to treat substance use disorders and how they work is paramount. Six people die every day due to illicit drug related poisoning in British Columbia. Meanwhile, diminished access to effective treatment makes care of people with substance use disorders even more difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With support from the National Institutes of Health, the team behind the report is actively working to improve research training for addiction care providers provincially. The goal of having clinicians trained is to ensure patients and families have access to the latest treatment options.

Article first published on Linked-In.

Source: Klimas, J., Dong, H., Hamilton, M.-A., Cullen, W., Samet, J. H., Wood, E., & Fairbairn, N. (2022). Impact of the international collaborative addiction medicine research fellowship on physicians’ future engagement in addiction research. Substance Abuse, 43(1), 809-814. 

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