East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland and Ballad Health Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan Levine have announced a partnership through which ETSU will apply to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to create a new fellowship program in addiction medicine. As part of its commitment to expand education and training in the region, Ballad Health will fund any un-reimbursed costs of the fellowship program, which, over a 10-year period could cost more than $2.5 million.
“In continuing with our mission to improve the quality of life for the people of this region, East Tennessee State University has partnered with Ballad Health and other important partners throughout the region to combat the opioid epidemic and other forms of addiction,” Noland said. “By investing in this new fellowship program, we are providing more avenues of treatment for those who call this area home and suffer from the disease of addiction.”
Noland credited the recent merger of Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance with helping to push forward the goal to create the fellowship program.
“Ballad Health and ETSU are committed to working together to serve our region,” Levine said. “The expenditure of these resources to bring this new fellowship program is a great example of investment into something new and needed, and the resources will come from Ballad Health as a result of the synergies from the merger.”
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) formally recognized addiction medicine as a new subspecialty in March 2016. Certification by an ABMS-recognized specialty is considered the “gold standard” in physician credentialing, assuring patients that their physician meets the highest standards for training, practice and clinical knowledge.
The Addiction Medicine Foundation has established a goal of creating 125 fellowship programs by 2025. The recognition of addiction medicine by ABMS allows fellowship programs to seek accreditation by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education.
ETSU will begin gathering the resources required for the application for fellowship approval immediately, with the goal of accepting the first fellows by July 2020. The number of positions included in the program has not yet been determined.