July 7, 2020

US$3.5 Million Will Underpin Addiction Recovery Services at Loma Linda

Ansel Oliver, Loma Linda University Health News

Loma Linda University Health has been awarded a federal grant of US$3.5 million to train additional physicians who help patients in the Inland Empire — a region in Southern California, United States — to recover from addictions.

To be awarded over five years, the grant will create a pipeline of addiction medicine specialists trained in treating addictions as part of the federal Addiction Medicine Fellowship program, which helps patients regardless of their socioeconomic status. These fellows will treat patients and train at Loma Linda University Health, SAC Health System, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center - Loma Linda.

The grant is issued from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It was secured with help from Congressman Pete Aguilar, U.S. representative for the 31st congressional district.

“We’re grateful for Congressman Aguilar’s work over the years to help us secure grants that will make a difference for people in need here in the Inland Empire,” said Richard Hart, president of Loma Linda University Health. “Specialized treatment is so important to a person struggling with addiction issues, and we’re pleased these funds will help provide additional staff to serve more patients with this type of needed care.”

The initiative is overseen by Daniel Giang, associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, and Adley Dason, a faculty member in the Department of Preventive Medicine.

“Doctor Dason and I are excited to develop a training pathway that will train outstanding addiction medicine specialists and provide them with the added skills they need to treat veterans and economically disadvantaged patients,” Giang said.

SAC Health System operates the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) clinic with the onsite Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), which offers individual and group-based substance use counseling services. MAT and the IOP are both located at SAC Health System’s Norton campus.

Since its founding, Loma Linda University Health has innovated ways of helping people overcome addictions. For more than 25 years, Mickey Ask has worked as a nationally recognized addiction medicine educator, having trained scores of addiction medicine fellows at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center - Loma Linda and at Loma Linda University Health.

The discipline of addiction medicine has become a recognized and accredited fellowship by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Led by Lori Karan, Loma Linda University Health established the first ACGME-accredited Addiction Medicine Fellowship in the Inland Empire. Fellows receive broad training in the field and receive a unique focus on veteran’s health and economically disadvantaged individuals. They are trained to address addictions from a population medicine standpoint and are prepared to reduce the health disparities among patients needing treatment for addictions.

“Loma Linda University Health has always been at the forefront of providing high-quality care to Inland Empire residents,” Congressman Aguilar said. “I was proud to advocate for this funding, which will help members of our community access the care they need to treat their addiction issues and will increase the number of highly skilled medical professionals in our region.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Loma Linda University Health news site.