Research is essential to improving overall health outcomes related to substance use disorders. It helps indicate trends, identify gaps, and inform policy and the delivery of substance use treatment interventions. The Addiction Training for Health Professionals (ATHP) program seeks to establish a community of researchers with varying interests, backgrounds, and specialties to help bridge the gap between research and practice. We have a team of remarkable and experienced researchers who have committed themselves to the cause of evaluating and improving ATHP’s evidence-based Addiction Medicine educational interventions. Two researchers, Dr. Maser and Dr. Clair have done remarkable work in addiction research that is making a difference.
Dr. Brandon Maser is a Pediatrics Resident Physician at the Hospital for Sick Children and a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Toronto. Dr. Maser is passionate about issues regarding substance abuse and has incorporated substance use dimensions in his research. In tandem with Dr. Frank, he has written an article on the prevalence of and factors associated with substance abuse among Canadian medical students. This study revealed important research implications related to the ability of medical students to cope with stress, burnout, and patient counseling practices on substance use. He is particularly interested in better understanding the global impact of the opioid policy. He remarked that issues related to overprescribing and misuse are primarily a result of a knowledge gap and strongly agrees that the Addiction Professionals Training Program can help bring about a global impact to “try and improve outcomes related to substance use disorders by funding programmatic and policy-related research.”
Dr. Veronic Clair, MD, MSc, CCFP, FRCPC, Ph.D. is a Physician Epidemiologist and a specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Clair has practiced as a clinical physician for more than 13 years and is the recipient of the Canadian College of Family Physicians’ national early career award through her dedication and leadership. She currently devotes her time to her work as an addiction medicine consultant in Vancouver while concurrently pursuing global mental health and substance abuse research with ATHP and the Africa Mental Health Foundation. Her main career focus has been to improve the health of vulnerable populations, and she has led several initiatives seeking to improve access to primary care for patients with mental health disorders and substance use disorders. In fact, she has collaborated on a study with Dr. Frank that elaborated on the prevalence of substance use among healthcare workers in Kenya. The study’s findings indicated a need for more rigorous substance use assessments and effective interventions. This is a persistent gap in many lower-middle-income countries that must be addressed.
The Physician Training and Addiction Research Initiative, sponsored in part by ATHP, seeks to contribute to and develop policies and resources for Addiction Medicine education and training. The work done by these researchers contributes to the progression of research over time to systematically address the implications of substance misuse and substance use disorders for individuals, families, and communities.