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The University of South Alabama College of Medicine is collaborating with AltaPointe Health to offer a fellowship in addiction medicine.

Published May 11th, 2020

By Lindsay Lyle

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine is collaborating with AltaPointe Health to offer a fellowship in addiction medicine. The new program is the first in the state to receive accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to train and provide a pipeline for the next generation of addiction medicine experts in the state of Alabama.

“Our nation has experienced unprecedented levels of problems related to addiction during the opioid epidemic, and physicians with expertise in addiction medicine are in very short supply in the United States generally and in Alabama in particular,” said J. Luke Engeriser, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry. “Early evidence shows that problems related to addiction to alcohol and other drugs have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, so high-quality addiction treatment will be in even greater demand in the coming years.”

“This will be a benefit to all Alabamians as there are few of us that are not touched in some way by addiction either in ourselves or in people that we care about,” Engeriser added.

The new fellowship program will train physicians from any medical specialty to provide specialized care to individuals struggling with addictive disorders. The next step is to secure funding to begin the recruitment process for the first fellow. Engeriser is hopeful the fellowship could start as early as July 1, 2020.

In addition to Engeriser, core program faculty will include Ashlen Aggen, M.D.; Praveen Narahari, M.D.; Marianne Saitz, D.O.; and Lori Lowthert, M.D. Narahari, Saitz, Lowthert and Engeriser are board-certified in addiction medicine.

“We are fortunate at AltaPointe to have a team of physicians that demonstrate the ability to add value to everything we are doing with their dedication to serving patients, fighting addictions, and keeping up with the demands of the healthcare industry,” said Tuerk Schlesinger, chief executive officer of AltaPointe Health. “Obtaining the addiction medicine fellowship is a true testament to that dedication and hard work.”

The addiction medicine fellowship program is the latest collaboration between AltaPointe and the USA College of Medicine, a relationship that began in 2004 with the establishment of a psychiatry rotation for third-year College of Medicine students. The partnership grew to include a psychiatry residency program in 2007 and a child-adolescent psychiatry fellowship in 2014.

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