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Interprofessional Addiction Treatment Course, Created By Yale Educators, Now Available on Coursera

April 20, 2020
by Jordan Sisson

A new online course on addiction treatment, spearheaded by two Yale Psychiatry faculty members, seeks to provide resources beyond the Yale community.

The course, titled “Addiction Treatment: Clinical Skills for Healthcare Providers,” launched in December 2019 and is available for free on Coursera, an online learning platform. The course’s two primary instructors are Ellen Edens, MD, MP, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and Shannon Drew, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor.

The course is based on the Yale psychiatry residency course on addictions, which Edens and Drew began teaching in 2010. In 2017, after posting their course on Faculty Bulldog Days and meeting Belinda Platt, Associate Director of Digital Education at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, they began working to bring the course online.

Edens said: “The Yale CTL agreed to work with us, but only if we pulled together interprofessional faculty from several Yale health professional schools to develop the curriculum. The Schools of Nursing and Public Health eagerly joined us, as well as the School of Medicine and the Physician Associates program. Working collaboratively, the course was made so much stronger.”

To date, over 3,000 active learners have enrolled in the Coursera course, and more than 700 people nationwide have completed it.

Including Edens and Drew, seven faculty from three Yale schools and four programs collaborated to create the course: Jeanette Tetrault, MD, FACP, Associate Professor of Medicine (General Medicine); Lindsay Powell, DNP, Lecturer in and Assistant Clinical Professor of Nursing at the School of Nursing; Rob Krause, Lecturer at the School of Nursing; Elizabeth Roessler, MMSc, PA-C, Assistant Professor in the Physician Associate Program at the Department of Medicine; and Robert Heimer, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Pharmacology.

“Our vision is that all health care professional schools, regardless of the availability of onsite faculty addiction expertise, will be able to provide their students with a solid, foundational curriculum in substance use disorder (SUD) prevention and treatment,” Edens said. “Today, such a course is online and freely available to anyone who needs it.”

The course is made possible by funding from the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning as well as a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Expansion of Interprofessional Healthcare Practitioner SUD Education. Grant funding is also being used to actively disseminate this online course to interprofessional healthcare providers.

Our vision is that all healthcare professional schools, regardless of the availability of onsite faculty addiction expertise, will be able to provide their students with a solid, foundational curriculum in substance use disorder (SUD) prevention and treatment.

Ellen Edens, MD, MP,Associate Professor of Psychiatry

The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) is working in collaboration with Yale, the American College of Academic Addiction Medicine (ACAAM), and a coalition of 37 multidisciplinary healthcare learning institutions across the country to train health professionals from schools of nursing, pharmacy, social work, physician assistant, and medicine.

The course comprises six modules, with an early and heavy focus on stigma, the importance of language when discussing substance use disorders, and how to treat people with a substance use disorder compassionately.

“We address stigma head on and teach students to conceptualize addiction as a chronic medical condition, akin to type 2 diabetes, and not a moral failing,” Edens said.

Other topics include screening, diagnosis, and referral to treatment, medication options, and evidence-based psychotherapy/behavioral therapies. Edens also highlighted an interactive map activity, where students are guided over several modules to create a robust map of their local substance use treatment resources.

The course is still being updated and improved based on feedback from professional schools in multiple disciplines across the country, Edens said.

“It’s meant to be the nuts and bolts of what health care providers need to know about substance use disorders and addiction,” Edens said.

For more information, or to enroll in the course, visit

Submitted by Jordan Sisson on April 17, 2020