Physicians also experience substance use disorders, with consequences for patients. We need to build on the Healthy Doc = Healthy Patient link (established by ATHP Research Director/Advisor Dr. Frank) working to ensure that all physicians (and other every member of the healthcare team) achieve and maintain optimal health, so that they will take better care of their patients.


In >100 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Frank’s research has consistently and strongly shown that physicians’ personal preventive substance use habits consistently affect their ability to assess, prevent, treat, and refer patients with related risks, particularly substance use disorders. For example, in this landmark paper in the British Medical Journal, Frank et al demonstrated that among U.S. medical students, “In multivariate models, extensive training in alcohol counseling doubled the frequency of reporting that alcohol counseling would be clinically relevant (odds ratio 2.3, 95% confidence interval 1.6 to 3.3) and of reporting doing counseling (2.2, 1.5 to 3.3).”


Ensuring that the population of physicians is as healthy as possible, including around substance use habits, makes it more likely that patients get the help they need. Exposing students, trainees, and physicians to information related to addictive disease can reduce their personal over-use of these substances, increase their substance-related counseling of patients, increase their belief in the relevance of substance use counseling, and improve their motivation about and confidence in performing that counseling.

The Addiction Training for Health Professionals recognizes the important connection between physician health and patient health as it relates to addiction, and has co-created courses with key partners to help physicians understand how to live healthier lives at work and at home, and how to help their patients do the same. Several courses have been developed to help improve physician and patient physical and mental health. Click the courses below to learn more.

Lifestyle Medicine


Wellness in the Workplace


Humanism and Healthcare


To learn more about how ATHP provides consultation to medical programs to improve physician well-being and patient outcomes, check out this blog post!