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Preparing Providers

$200K SAMHSA Grant Funds Enhanced Substance Use Disorder Training in Pharmacy, Medicine Curricula 

November 16 — UH College of Pharmacy's Austin De La Cruz, Pharm.D., BCPP, clinical assistant professor, and Tamara Al Rawwad, Ph.D., MPH, postdoctoral fellow, have been awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop and integrate substance use disorder (SUD) education into professional pharmacy and medicine curricula.

delacruz-alrawwad-350.pngThe project aims to provide interdisciplinary and interprofessional, evidence-based training to Pharm.D. and medical students related to SUDs; enhancing pharmacy and medicine programs’ capacity to provide standardized education and training related to SUDs; and expand the integration of SUDs education into pharmacy and medical programs and licensing exams.

Within the context of the Pharm.D. curriculum, students’ training on counseling patients and monitoring medication-use outcomes will be combined with training on understanding patients using a biopsychosocial framework.

Newly licensed pharmacists with enhanced SUDs education will bring their training and expertise to various health care institutions, further expanding SUDs prevention, assessment, and referral. Additionally, pharmacists will be more prepared to be involved with their community and assume roles in leadership and service involving substance misuse/dependence prevention and education. Lastly, when treating SUDs, the addition of a pharmacist into a team-based care practice model can improve patient outcomes and reduce the SUDs treatment gap.

Other members of the project team include UHCOP faculty members Matthew A. Wanat, Pharm.D., BCCCP, FCCM, and Douglas Thornton, Ph.D., Pharm.D., BCPS, and UH College of Medicine faculty members Bill Elder, Ph.D., and Steven Starks, M.D.