Mountainside Raises Awareness of Underserved but Critical Discipline: Addiction Medicine

Published on February 2, 2022
Mountainside Canaan Aerial Shot

Rehabilitation center partners with hospital and university to create educational experience

Canaan, CT – Mountainside Treatment Center is partnering with Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook University to welcome resident Family Practice doctors to participate in a two-week Addiction Medicine training rotation at Mountainside in Canaan, CT. The objective is to provide general practitioners with hands-on experience in the addiction treatment field while dispelling the stigma of substance use disorders in the medical community.

Addiction ravages 14.5 percent of the nation’s population over the age of 12, yet just over 3,100 medical professionals are trained in addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. A 2021 brief report from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that less than one percent of American physicians are dually certified in both Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine. The journal Substance Abuse notes that only 24 percent of residency programs nationwide dedicate 12 or more hours to addiction medicine education.

“We have witnessed a dramatic increase in rates of substance use and overdose deaths in the last decade. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified these issues. While the number of patients in our ER continues to increase, there is little opportunity for doctors-in-training to study this disease beyond the patients’ emergent need,” says Dr. Daniel Van Arsdale, DO, Program Director of the Stony Brook Family Medicine Residency Program. “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with Mountainside to provide our residents a much-needed, deeper level of learning in treating addiction.”

Family Medicine and Primary Care Providers are often the first to see patients suffering from substance use disorders in their offices or in the emergency department. A positive experience in working with those struggling with addiction goes a long way in countering bias and changing attitudes. “I want young doctors in Family Medicine to recognize that addiction is a disease and to know something about treating addiction, but also to see that there is a person behind the diagnosis. During my own medical training at the start of my career, I was provided with just a one-hour lecture on the subject of Addiction,” says Randall Dwenger, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Mountainside. “We are eager to work with these new doctors and show them how the compassionate, evidence-based care we give to our clients at Mountainside can help transform lives.”

The third-year residents will be immersed in a variety of Mountainside’s treatment offerings, including:

  • Detox Practices and Protocols
  • Group Therapy
  • Wellness Practices (Acupuncture, Meditation, Yoga, Qigong)
  • Family Counseling
  • Psychiatric Services
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment

Mountainside has already welcomed one resident doctor, who had the following to say of their experience: “I feel like spending the last two weeks with you all has shined so much light on a field of medicine in which general practitioners generally know very little about or are afraid to attempt to treat. I will use the knowledge, the wisdom, the tools, and the kindness you all have shown me to guide my clinical practices in the future.”