Preparing medical students to address the Opioid Crisis
On Thursday January 21, 2021, the Association of Faculties of Medicine in Canada (AFMC) released a series of online educational modules. These modules, which will be used by medical students across the country, are intended to better train future healthcare workers on how to address pain management and addiction medicine. The new curriculum was created by a multidisciplinary team of subject-matter experts and stakeholders from medical schools across the country, however, Queen’s University in particular played a major role in the initiative.
Acting as both consultant and contractor, the Office of Professional Development and Educational Scholarship’s involvement in the project has been a multifaceted one. Over the last two years a team in their team has worked with the AFMC to create a proposal for the project, build a platform for delivery, develop pilot modules and collect user feedback.
“We are very proud to have spent the last two years working alongside the AFMC,” says Dr. Richard van Wylick, Associate Dean of Professional Development at Queen’s University. “The modules, which are completely bilingual, will serve as a great resource for medical students across the country.”
The curriculum is in response to the surge of overdoses and opioid-related deaths in Canada, a situation which is categorized as a national public health crisis. The online modules will train physicians to work with patients to manage pain; educate patients to safely store and dispose of opioids; openly communicate the possible side effects of opioids; support the care of persons living with opioid use disorder and assess the patient's profile and adjust the prescription accordingly.
Queen’s was brought on to help build this platform, in large part due to previous experience with projects similar in nature. “I also want to recognize those involved in developing the online BHSc and the Elentra platforms here at Queen’s,” says Dr. Wylick. “Our ability to deliver on these modules was based in previous expertise from working on both of these projects. It makes me very happy that because of the expertise we have developed, physicians across the country will be better equipped to educate patients on the proper opioid management.”