NewsLocal News

Actions

UNMC combats substance use disorders by training medical professionals in new fellowship

Posted: 6:20 PM, Aug 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-12 21:35:16-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — One in every five people have substance use or mental health disorder in Nebraska. University of Nebraska Medical Center recognizes it’s a problem that needs more professionals to help treat in our state.

UNMC teamed up with federal and state agencies to fund a new year-long addiction medicine fellowship.

“I've just seen not only first hand,” Dr. Andrea Parde, UNMC Addiction Medicine Fellow said. “But close friends and family struggle with substance use, and it is something that we have the opportunity at this point to demystify.”

Dr. Parde has been an anesthesiologist for 15 years, she is making a career change as UNMC’s first Addiction Medicine Fellow.

“I'm just hoping to make a difference in people's lives,” Dr. Parde said. “To use my knowledge as an anesthesiologist, pain control, pain issues, and marry that with patients that have substance use disorder, and problems associated with that, to help them recover and help them get back the lives they once led.”

Only 15-percent of people access treatment for addictions. UNMC thinks that partially because we don't have enough professionals.

“To really grow it through family medicine, through internal medicine, emergency physicians, and to really begin to grow that workforce capacity,” Sheri Dawson, DHHS Divisional Director said.

“One trainee a year who is trained in addiction medicine may not sound like a lot,” Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, UNMC Chancellor said. “It becomes a train the trainer model.”

Starting a fellowship program isn't easy; UNMC says funding is the biggest challenge. That's where this partnerships come in. Nebraska is the first state to seek permission to use part of it's $2-million dollar Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant to improve the workforce.

"This is not a crisis you can arrest your way out of,” Doug Peterson, Attorney General said. “One of the clear messages we were all committed to at the outset was treatment is key. If we are going to be on top of this issue in Nebraska and try to prevent an issue in Nebraska it had to be focused on treatment. That's why this fellowship is so important."

"This is not a crisis you can arrest your way out of,” Doug Peterson, Attorney General said. “One of the clear messages we were all committed to at the outset was treatment is key. If we are going to be on top of this issue in Nebraska and try to prevent an issue in Nebraska it had to be focused on treatment. That's why this fellowship is so important."

Currently, there are 52 accredited fellowship programs in the United States and Canada. By 2025, they hope to have 125 programs to help develop the workforce to treat substance use disorders.

Dr. Parde isn't sure where her yearlong fellowship is going to take her.

“I'm just kind of waiting for my life to unfold and give me that direction with God's help,” Dr. Parde said.

She want to help change the stigma surrounding substance use disorders.