Quality & Science

ASAM celebrates first year successes with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Collaborative

by | January 25, 2021

 Pilot program provides evidence-based education for providers about addiction and how to support patients with addiction


There is a critical gap between the number of patients who need addiction treatment and qualified medical professionals available to treat patients using evidence-based approaches. In order to shrink this treatment gap, ASAM and AACN joined together, with the support of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) “Expansion of Practitioner Education” (PracEd) Grant, to increase addiction treatment training for nurse practitioners. This project required close collaboration between various organizations across the country to participate. Over 100 schools have indicated interest in participating. ASAM selected 10 schools of various sizes in rural and urban locations where ASAM does not currently provide many in-person training courses on addiction treatment.  The main goal of the project is to expand nurse practitioners’ access to addiction education and therefore increase providers’ competency to treat addiction in their practice.


“Evidence-based education for providers about addiction and how to support patients with addiction in nonjudgmental ways is critical in helping patients receive high-quality care,” said Joan Stanley, PhD, Chief Academic Officer at AACN. “Most US nurse practitioner education programs include very little training on addiction treatment. This program provides that life-saving education.”


In Year 1 of the grant, 724 students registered and 660 completed the course (90% completion rate). In an optional survey sent 12 weeks post-completion, 61% of respondents indicated they anticipate managing patients with addiction in their clinical practice, 70% strongly agree/agree that they have used the information gained from this course to change their practice, and 90% strongly agree/agree that they expect to use information from the course in their future work.


All schools shared the positive impact the education had on their students and programs during quarterly faculty meetings. Participating schools provided positive feedback, such as:


“…We have a lot of clinics that are associated with us. One of our clinics in particular is a community clinic that just opened a substance use clinic program, where they will focus on that for our community… each one of our programs are teaching something different about substance [use] and our goal is to have a unique, consistent curriculum across all the specialties so that we are consistent in what we teach our students and how they practice in our community.” - Loma Linda University


“…Like the others, we don’t have a concentrated area for this and so we are really looking forward to this and think it will be really beneficial to the programs, as well as to the patients that our graduates serve.” - Wichita State University


“Really excited to participate because I’ve been piecemealing substance [use] training through the CDC and a variety of other sources, and to be able to have organized modules for our students [is] wonderful. We are really excited about it.” - North Dakota State University


“Our programs [are] kind of scattered on how we approach substance [use], so we are really looking forward to having this comprehensive program for our students. It is going to prepare them for the issues that we have in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, as well as we have students across the United States, so we are really looking forward to participating in this.” - Texas Christian University


“We’ve been delighted to partner with this group of leaders in education of nurse practitioners.  Each nurse practitioner who we educate will provide vital, evidence-based treatment to thousands of individuals with substance use disorder,” said Miriam Komaromy, MD, FACP, DFASAM, the program principal investigator and the vice-chair of ASAMs Medical Education Council. “This is a key step for overcoming our nation’s addiction public health crisis.”


SAMHSA allocated two years of funding to national organizations for the grant which seeks to integrate addiction education into healthcare programs across the country.