Meet Claire Healy, a second-year student at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Western University of Health Sciences, in Pomona, California. A 2018 participant in the Summer Institute for Medical Students program at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Claire shares how her week participating with patients and clinicians at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, has forever changed her perceptions about addiction and her understanding of how to help future patients and their families. Why did you apply to the Summer Institute for Medical Students program? Substance use disorder is a disease that runs in my family, so I had a strong personal interest in learning more about addiction treatment and recovery. As a medical student, I also thought it would be valuable to understand the disease from the perspectives of patients and treatment providers. Addiction is such a complex and prevalent disease. No matter the area of medicine I eventually practice, I will be working with patients who are challenged by addiction—whether their own struggle or a loved one’s. As a future physician, what was your biggest takeaway from the experience? One experience that stands out was hearing patients say how much they wish their primary care physician had talked with them about issues related to alcohol or drug use. Most patients never had that conversation with their doctor. I now see it as my role, as a future physician, to get those conversations started with patients so we can identify health risks and other problematic issues that could be related to substance use. I will also be much more comfortable when I talk about addiction with my patients, thanks to the SIMS experience. Sometimes patients don’t realize they have a problem until it’s brought to their attention. Sometimes patients aren’t comfortable talking about their personal lives or their substance use. I learned how to facilitate those discussions by asking open-ended questions. For example, instead of asking, "Do you drink heavily?" I might say something like, "Tell me about your alcohol use …" Cultivating a nonjudgmental atmosphere and getting those conversations started can open the way to healing. Was there anything about your experience that was unexpected? I wasn't surprised so much as I was deeply moved and inspired. The program humanizes the disease of addiction and the process of treatment and recovery in a way that no lecture or textbook ever could. I felt a sense of connection and mutual respect with everyone I met: the patients, the addiction counselors, and the other medical students in the program. I left with new insight and wisdom about myself and about the role I want to play in my patients' lives in terms of providing compassionate support, guidance and advocacy.