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Posted 12/16/2021

Increasing Expert Addiction Care

Over the last 20 years, substance use disorders have continued to increase and transition from one drug to another leading to alarming overdose death rates and tragic consequences on families, communities, healthcare facilities and government agencies.

In 2015, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) officially recognized addiction medicine as a subspecialty allowing physicians to become board certified in this area and healthcare institutions to seek accreditation for addiction medicine fellowship programs.

According to ABMS, addiction medicine is defined as 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 licit and illicit drugs.

In 2019, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences launched a one-year addiction medicine fellowship open to physicians who have completed an ACGME or AOA accredited residency. The goal of the program is to develop future leaders in the field of addiction medicine and increase access to expert care for addiction.

The first fellow to graduate from the OSU Addiction Medicine Fellowship now cares for patients at the NCWR Addiction Recovery Clinic. Lowell J. Robertson, M.D. is now board-certified in addiction medicine and feels the fellowship provided an exceptional depth of experience and exposed him to a variety of patient backgrounds and needs.

“My interaction with peers in this program surpassed any training experiences I have had in the past,” said Robertson. “I feel like my training enabled me to become an expert in the field of addiction; and I believe that my work in this field allows me to literally save lives and help put families back together.”

Deanne Vick | December 2021