Opioid prescription education and pain management have been part of PCOM's curriculum for years.
At the recent National Rx Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, the Obama administration announced an agreement with 60 medical schools across the country to include instruction on opioid prescription in their curricula, and PCOM and GA-PCOM were among those institutions. H. William Craver III, DO ’87, dean and chief academic officer, GA-PCOM, attended the event as a special guest of the White House.
Beginning in fall 2016, these schools will require all students to take some form of prescriber education in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. At PCOM and GA-PCOM, opioid prescription education and pain management have been part of the medical school curriculum for years, said Kenneth Veit, DO ’76, MBA, provost, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean.
“Our curriculum is imbued with courses on opioid education and pain management. It’s important for our students to understand this growing public health issue so that they can provide their patients with the best possible care,” said Dr. Veit.
Frederick Goldstein, PhD, professor, neuroscience, physiology and pharmacology, has been studying opioids and other pain medications for more than 30 years. He is coordinator of pharmacology for the DO program and lectures first-, second- and third-year medical students on many areas of neuropharmacology, including opioids and pain management. In addition, he coined the phrase “suicidogen,” a term he uses when teaching medical students about pain management to describe any physical or mental factor—such as poor pain management—which promotes the thought and/or act of suicide.
Dr. Goldstein says that PCOM’s curriculum is right on target with the CDC’s recommendations, which include when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain; opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and risk and addressing harms of opioid use.
“Opioids can be useful in pain management, but it is critical that medical students receive the proper training and education surrounding these medications,” he said. “If students are fearful of treating patients with opioids, they may not do it correctly.”
The American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) partnered on the involvement of 27 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the White House’s initiative to address the opioid epidemic. PCOM was the only osteopathic institution—and one of only two medical schools—in Pennsylvania to participate in the agreement.
“By teaching and reaffirming appropriate prescribing throughout the continuum of osteopathic medical education, DOs are working to improve the quality of care now and for future generations of physicians,” John W. Becher, DO ’70, chair, emergency medicine and president of the AOA, said in a statement.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained more than 15,000 highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach, treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of pharmacy and doctor of psychology degrees and graduate programs in mental health counseling, school psychology, physician assistant studies, forensic medicine, organizational development and leadership, and biomedical sciences. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, education and service to the community and, through PCOM’s Healthcare Centers, provide care to the medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations.
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