CDAP’s Educational Programs
Guest: Dr. Ray Anton – Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, MUSC
Host: Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry, MUSC
Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Ray Anton is Director of the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs. Dr. Anton, in a previous podcast, we talked about the research activities at CDAP. In this podcast, let’s talk about some of the educational programs at CDAP. I know we’ve been, actually, awarded; gotten some very nice honors from US News & World Report. Tell us about our educational programs.
Dr. Ray Anton: Thank you, Dr. Austin, and thanks for mentioning US News & World Report recognition. You know, every year, US News & World Report puts out a listing of best academic institutions for clinical care and education and research, and we’ve been in the top ten, or close to the top ten, for a number of years now; recognized for our education programs. But it’s not only CDAP. It’s CDAP in conjunction with the Division of Neuroscience and the Department of Psychiatry.
In the medical school, we’ve formed sort of a triumvirate of the possibilities for education. We have several research training programs for basic scientists and clinical scientists which are funded by the National Institutes of Health. And we have an Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Program in the Department of Psychiatry that trains clinicians to be specialists in addiction psychiatry. And all of those are affiliated with CDAP and our faculty.
Again, our philosophy is to try to mix basic scientists and clinical scientists together during their training so they can learn from each other. And so, we have a very enriched environment with outside speakers, international and national, coming in, in all areas of addiction; nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, opiates, over the course of the year. And many of our graduates go on to have astounding careers in their own right, both as scientists and clinicians. So we’re very proud of that.
Dr. Linda Austin: Now, in addition to the fellowship program, which is for residents, what about opportunities for medical students, for nursing students, for other disciplines?
Dr. Ray Anton: Almost every year, we have medical students working with us, either in our basic science labs or in clinical research studies. And, also, many of our research assistants and project coordinators, who come to us after undergraduate school, actually go on to careers in medicine, and nursing, and graduate school programs. So, we have a very eclectic program. At one time, during the course of our training, we’ve had PharmDs. We’ve had nurses. We have psychologists, sociologists. So, we’ve had a number of people coming through our training program in addition to MDs or MD psychiatrists.
Dr. Linda Austin: I would think for those getting training in, say, internal medicine or family practice, it could be incredibly useful to do a rotation through CDAP. Do you ever have those trainees?
Dr. Ray Anton: Well, it’s funny you should mention that, because we now have a faculty member that’s an internist. He’s sitting with us and doing research, and interacting with us. So, we’re very eclectic. Bob Malcolm, who is one of our esteemed faculty members, is also boarded in family medicine. We do have the ability, I think, to offer rotation through some of our programs and would encourage more people to seek that out. I’m sure we could find a way to accommodate them, as long as their programs allow such a rotation.
Dr. Linda Austin: Can you touch on some of the clinical offerings that are available at CDAP?
Dr. Ray Anton: Well, first, I would start out by saying that we have a broad range of programs, including clinical trials. For those that are unfamiliar with clinical trials, they’re research studies in a sense, but they provide clinical treatment; and oftentimes, state of the art clinical treatment. In these clinical trials, which are all approved by external review boards and, oftentimes, by the FDA, if there are medications involved with them, people get active medication or placebo, as well as counseling.
We have ongoing clinical trials, almost all the time, for alcoholism and cocaine addiction. Other divisions also have trials for nicotine, opiates, and marijuana. So, for a range of addictions, we have these trials, which are trying to increase and better the treatment options for addictions. And we’re doing that by a very vigorous study design collection of data and attention to detail. People in the trials get free medical exams. They get free blood tests, and laboratory tests; liver, kidneys, heart, things like that, and they get to meet with very highly qualified healthcare professionals, either trained addiction nurses or trained addiction psychiatrists, or internists. So, they get very good care in clinical trials.
And, by the way, clinical trials are oftentimes free and confidential, which is very important. So, people that are concerned about the stigmatization can participate without anybody knowing about it. In addition to that, we have fee for service clinical care as well, ranging from inpatient hospitalization; for detox, for instance, or acute stabilization, to intensive day and night programs, meeting with individual addiction psychiatrists, if necessary, medications, and counseling. We have a buprenorphine program for opiate addicts, which is one of only a few in the area. And all of our addiction psychiatrists are very familiar with the medications that are available to treat addictions, including alcoholism.
Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Anton, you do terrific work at CDAP. Thanks so much for talking with us today.
Dr. Ray Anton: It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much.