Background: Substance use accounts for more than 400,000 deaths annually in the United States and overdose rates surged during the COVID pandemic. While the pandemic created increased pressure for better prepared providers, it simultaneously placed restrictions on medical training programs. The purpose of this educational case series is to assess the feasibility of a virtual addiction medicine training program and conduct a qualitative evaluation of medical student attitudes toward caring for people with substance use disorders, both before and after their addiction medicine training experience. Methods: We conducted a qualitative analysis related to course content focused on strengths and limitations of in-person and virtual training modalities. Individual quotes were evaluated and content themes were developed after a thorough review of all codes and detailed examination of interviewee quotes. Results: The primary themes that emerged were (1) Addiction medicine content is important to improve care of patients with substance disorders and is not fully addressed in undergraduate medical education (2) In-person and virtual training contain unique strengths and weaknesses and (3) Students perceived that both experiences provided positive and needed training in addiction medicine that shifted perspective and enhanced confidence to practice. Conclusions: Remote training via virtual lectures and patient visits may enhance training opportunities for students with limited exposure to addiction medicine patients and faculty with addiction medicine expertise. There is a need to further refine virtual care for patients with SUDs and virtual training to meet the needs of patients and learners across the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)884-891
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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