Addiction Education Programs

Medical education programs expand the reach of healing and hope

At the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, our earliest leaders believed there were too many people suffering with addiction for us to keep our knowledge, tools and experience to ourselves. That’s why our doors have always been open to other care providers and helping professionals to come and learn with us.

With the medical field in particular, we recognized that a lack of formal training in substance use disorders leaves many practicing physicians inadequately prepared to assess, intervene, manage, and treat addiction and co-occurring disorders. Three of our addiction education programs focus specifically on equipping the next generation of physicians to effectively address addiction.

Summer Institute for Medical Students (SIMS)

By placing medical students on addiction treatment units, where they learn alongside patients and clinicians, the SIMS program provides a profoundly moving experience. Participants report time and time again that the program is “life changing” for them.

The idea for the program came from James West, M.D., former medical director of the Betty Ford Center, board member emeritus, and author. Dr. West was well aware of the dearth of information provided to medical students about the disease most likely to present in every general and specialty practice of medicine. He also knew how difficult it is to interest practicing physicians in taking time to learn about addiction. His solution was to provide training to students just beginning their medical education.

Today, the program attracts students from universities across the country and around the globe—making a world of difference in how tomorrow’s physicians will recognize and address addiction.

Fellowship in Addiction Medicine

Following a competitive application process, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation selected our second fellow in Addiction Medicine in 2015. Accredited by the American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation in 2013, and one of only 36 such accredited opportunities worldwide, our Addiction Medicine Fellowship focuses intensely on patient care.

The immersive, year-long training equips physicians as specialists in all aspects of addiction medicine, including medical and psychiatric conditions related to the use of addictive substances. Fellows make clinical rounds with the attending physician at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s detoxification and inpatient units, assessing patients from admission through addiction treatment and determining pathophysiology, medical treatment, and relapse indicators.

Online Course in Addiction and Recovery

Now offered at 30 medical schools worldwide, our innovative online addiction course provides medical students with the latest thinking and best practices in addressing the pervasive disease.

Developed by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in collaboration with MedU, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the Treatment Research Institute, the Course on Addiction & Recovery Education (CARE) draws from leading experts and emerging science. The online course is built on the MedU platform for easy access and navigation, features an interactive format for learning engagement and provides flexible modules for customization as needed.

Professionals in Residence (PIR)

For over 40 years, the PIR program has offered a unique opportunity for professionals from around the world to learn about addiction, treatment and recovery.

During an intense five-day program, our multi-disciplinary faculty blend the latest research and evidence-based methods with clinical practice. Participants gain a deeper and more intimate level of understanding by shadowing patients and staff on our treatment units. Classes, coupled with the opportunity to walk in the lives of patients, provides an experience that reportedly has a profound impact. Participants represent a wide variety of disciplines, including medicine, nursing, psychiatry, mental health, professional counseling and others.


Together, we will overcome addiction.

We invite you to learn more about how the power of your giving supports addiction treatment, research and education at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Please call 888-535-9485, email us, or visit our addiction education page.

Our Medical and Professional Education programs—made possible through the generosity of donors—equip hundreds of professionals every year with the tools, knowledge and insight to effectively address the disease of addiction.

It’s only because of your commitment and support that we can offer these life-changing lessons in lifesaving care.

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