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School of Medicine Greenville

USC School of Medicine Greenville introduces curricular opportunities that address opioid crisis

GREENVILLE, S.C. (October 3, 2017)—As the opioid crisis rages, the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville is implementing education and training into the curriculum that addresses this alarming epidemic. The concepts of addiction and recovery are introduced in the students’ first year of school, simultaneous to their becoming emergency medical technicians and seeing firsthand the effects of addiction. A framework of case studies, panel discussions and other practice avenues provides first-, second- and third-year students with effective exposure to the realistic needs of their current and future patient populations. By the fourth year, the common thread of preparation throughout their medical education is apparent as students are better able to recognize both the obvious and underlying needs of patients and the solutions for addiction recovery, including the enlistment of community resources.

An example of an innovative training opportunity for students is the medical school’s partnership with the local Greenville organization Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR). This past summer, a total of 11 medical students participated in workshops and hands-on experiences to learn the practice of motivational interviewing. The elective allowed students to become certified recovery coaches, a role that will enhance their empathy, increase their awareness of the multi-faceted needs of their patients and better equip them to address the problem on an individual and impactful level. Recently, WYFF included a segment about the medical school’s and FAVOR’s collaboration in their Chronicle story on addiction  (Part 6 at 2:20).

As part of the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation, the medical school recently received a grant of $2.06 million over the course of four years from the Greenville Health Authority that will provide scholarships to medical students specially trained in areas such as lifestyle medicine or in addiction or substance misuse. Other coalition members include FAVOR Greenville and Greenville Technical College’s Culinary Institute, which will offer training in healthy nutrition and even meal planning.

The USC School of Medicine Greenville is committed to community-based health care and a holistic approach to patient care and will continue in their endeavor to be innovative in their response to public crises such as the opioid epidemic.

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