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AP Big Story: UMass Medical School trains students to fight opioid abuse

By Sarah Willey

UMass Medical School Communications

June 28, 2016

UMass Medical School is leading the charge to better train medical and advanced practice nursing students in the prevention and management of opioid abuse, according to an Associated Press story published June 28. An accompanying AP video goes inside a “daylong boot camp” at UMMS in which the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Nursing students from the 2016 class received intensive, hands-on training in opioid safe prescribing and pain management.

The first-of-its-kind simulation-based training program at UMMS builds upon classroom learning using a series of five encounters with standardized patients. The actors and actresses portray a full range of interactions with diverse patients, in varied settings commonly experienced in the day-to-day practice of medicine.

“At first, the woman tried to hide her painkiller problem. She told the doctor that she still had pain from her past pregnancy, and that she just wanted a refill on her pain medication,” wrote AP reporter Collin Binkley in the story, describing the simulation session. “After a few questions, though, she admitted that a friend had sold her some OxyContin, and that she’d stolen pills from another friend.”

“There’s a lot at stake here. We have a public health epidemic, and it’s not getting better, and the health care profession is part of the problem,” said Michele Pugnaire, MD, senior associate dean for educational affairs and professor of family medicine & community health, explaining that UMMS has designed a national model for other schools to implement in training medical and advanced practice nurses in opioid safe prescribing. UMMS was the first medical school in Massachusetts to implement 10 core competencies recommended by Governor Charlie Baker’s Medical Education Working Group on Prescription Drug Misuse.

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
Gov. Baker lauds UMass Medical School graduates at 43rd Commencement
UMMS implements curriculum changes in current academic year to address opioid crisis
UMMS working with other Mass. medical schools, governor on opioid prescribing practices
Gov. Baker names UMMS pharmacy director to Opioid Drug Formulary Commission
Paul Jeffrey to Fox-TV 25 Boston: We must expand opioid abuse treatment, prevention