Frederick K Grittner Revised by Donna Craft

ASSOCIATION FOR MEDICAL EDUCATION AND RESEARCH IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE (AMERSA) The Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) is a national organization of more than 300 medical and allied faculty, which was founded in 1976 for the promotion of education and research in the field of substance abuse. The organization was derived from an informal coalition of U.S. Federal Career Teachers in alcoholism and drug abuse; these career teachers, one on the faculty of each of fifty-five medical schools, were funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to promote enhanced teaching at their respective medical campuses. The Career Teachers Program, established in 1972, was regarded as a highly successful vehicle for highlighting an issue of considerable importance in the medical curriculum. As the program wound down (it came to an end in 1981), the participants felt it important to secure the continuation of their mission and established AMERSA as a national membership organization open to all medical faculty and faculty in allied health programs.

In the year of its establishment, AMERSA held its first national meeting, which was followed by meetings of increasing attendance in each succeeding year. The national meetings have been the focus of federal participation in teaching programs and have focused on curriculum techniques and new research findings.

AMERSA established a quarterly publication, Substance Abuse, in 1979, presenting educational and research findings; it serves as a vehicle for broadening the base of teaching in the members' fields. In addition, a variety of curricula were established by members, with coordination through the AMERSA national headquarters (located in Providence, Rhode Island) and augmented by the Center for Medical Fellowships in Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, located at New York University.

Full membership is available for all persons holding faculty appointments in health-professional schools and/or to those involved in substance abuse education or research. Membership benefits include a free subscription to Substance Abuse; reduced rates at the annual conference; and a national voice that supports academic programs in universities, professional schools, and organizations that promote substance abuse education and research.

The organization's members work in a variety of ways to effect their educational ends. Much effort is invested in developing curriculum and curriculum outlines for courses directed at a variety of disciplines and various educational levels. In addition, most members work actively within their respective departments to develop subspecialty expertise—as in psychiatry and internal medicine. Efforts are also directed at schoolwide initiatives—as with programs organized through the deans of medical schools.

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