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AMSA Announces New Campaign, AWARE: A Week of Addiction and Recovery Education

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) will be hosting its first weeklong campaign, AWARE: A Week of Addiction and Recovery Education, from April 24 to April 28, 2017, dedicated to increasing awareness about the emerging evidence in treating and preventing substance use disorders.

The mission of AWARE is to instill a compassionate, total health approach to treating addiction that is stigma-free and evidence-based. Addiction is a complex disease shaped by neurobiology, psychological trauma, and experience that cannot be viewed without the intersectional lenses of the social determinants of health. AMSA believes patients suffering from substance use disorders deserve the same degree of respect, dignity, and attention as any other segment of society.

This week of awareness overlaps with the Addiction Treatment Gap Awareness Week hosted by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), dedicated to recognizing the significant gap in treatment and available providers for people suffering from the disease of addiction.

“It is rare today for a student to graduate from medical school having not participated in the care of a patient who is affected by addiction, yet we still do not have standardized curriculum in place addressing addiction,” says AMSA National President Kelly Thibert, D.O., M.P.H. “The time is now for us, as students, to advocate for understanding and treating addiction. We must be trained and prepared to provide care to all of our patients, and AMSA is proud to partner with organizations like ASAM to ensure that we provide avenues of education for physicians-in-training while we work towards integration of this vital training into medical curriculum.”

Addiction psychiatrist Brian Hurley, M.D., M.B.A., DFASAM, current treasurer of ASAM and former AMSA national president, is proud to collaborate with AMSA in working to fill the void in medical education surrounding addiction medicine. “Medical schools are in a unique position to start educating future physicians at an early level about this chronic brain disease,” he says, emphasizing the growing pressures for physician involvement in treating addiction. “ASAM couldn't have a better partner than AMSA, the leading national organization of physicians-in-training, in the effort to advance medical professional education at every level to ensure that the medical community is equipped to treat addiction and save lives.”

Both of these organizations’ events occur at the end of April, deemed “Alcohol Awareness Month” by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, Inc.

The AWARE schedule of online programming will explore themes and models of treatment and harm reduction, recovery, and prevention, as well as disparities in substance use disorders. Sessions will feature leading experts from organizations who work at the heart of the substance abuse and prescription drug epidemic in the United States. ASAM will also be hosting a collaborative session with AMSA discussing addiction medicine as a subspecialty and the new board certification exam from the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM).

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About AMSA:

AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online at

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