Educating other healthcare professionals
Psychologists are also assisting in the training of today's nonpsychologist addiction workforce in evidence-based approaches. Rachel Winograd, PhD, a research associate professor at the University of Missouri–St. Louis' Missouri Institute of Mental Health, is one of them.
Winograd is battling stereotypes regarding naloxone, such as the assumption that it stimulates opioid use, using a project called Missouri Opioid-Heroin Overdose Prevention and Education. Winograd and her team developed a curriculum for emergency responders, social service providers, and the general public that focuses on harm reduction rather than abstinence.
Winograd is also pushing the Medication First concept, which aims to remove barriers to quick access to drugs for addiction treatment. Her team has already taught and treated over 15,000 counselors, social workers, case managers, peers, physicians, nurses, and administrators. Clients serviced by such specialists are more likely to receive medicine and stay in therapy for longer, according to early data. The median monthly treatment cost has decreased by 19%.
Other psychologists are looking into the best ways to train addiction professionals. Sara Becker, PhD, is the director of the New England Addiction Technology Transfer Center, which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She uses a model she calls the Science to Service Laboratory to train psychologists, social workers, physicians, and other addiction treatment providers. On top of didactic seminars, this method of training layers on-going support, such as leadership coaching and performance feedback.