According to PAHO (2020), treatment is essential for the most vulnerable in society and should be adapted according to their needs and the profile of the user population. Unfortunately, most physicians and other healthcare professionals lack the training to screen, diagnose and manage substance use disorders. For this reason, it is essential for physicians, whether they specialize in addiction or not, to understand, recognize and be able to refer patients presenting symptoms of substance use disorders successfully.
Pablo Baldiviezo, MD, DipEd, is a medical doctor based in Bolivia and a candidate for a Master’s degree in Transdisciplinary Scientific Research. He is extremely passionate about the future application of emerging technologies in health education. As a fellow at the Addiction Training for Health Professionals (ATHP) program, Dr. Baldiviezo occupies the crucial role of Instructional Design Team Coordinator, where he manages and coordinates the daily functions of the Instructional Design Team. With his commitment and passion, several courses have been successfully delivered. He remains convinced that ATHP can help change the outlook on addiction and mental health: “Diagnosis and treatment must be approached with the best psychosocial support measures throughout the community without generating discrimination or isolation.”
Dr. Baldiviezo aligns himself closely with the vision and values of the ATHP. He hopes to make “an impact around the world, mainly in low and middle-income countries where high quality and free access to education is crucial to improve health care systems and people’s life quality.” Through his contributions to a versatile and multidisciplinary team, he firmly believes that ATHP can create “a variety of courses related to substance use disorders and mental health that aim to impact the quality of healthcare workers training around the world.”
When asked why battling addiction remains essential, he noted that “substance use disorders contribute to the global burden of diseases; it is a problem that affects society collectively in many countries. Stigmatization and lack of training are why it is important to address it as a priority.” Dr. Baldiviezo remarked that the Program intends to contribute to and influence different levels, allowing for better training for physicians and strategies to include through improved policies for the prevention and treatment of SUDs.
ATHP recognizes that substance use disorders significantly threaten public health. The priority is to prepare healthcare professionals to adequately screen, diagnose and treat patients with substance use disorders through free courses addressing addiction and mental health concerns and to encourage more physicians to train as specialists in treating addiction and substance use disorders.