Family First

Somewhere between 2001 and 2004 (when I was a family medicine resident), I had the great fortune of rotating with Tom Okner and Stuart Cox at Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists. During that experience, I acquired a slim volume, Primary Care Otolaryngology, that immediately acquired a place of honor in my bookcase.

The authors included life advice and musings about science in the margins of various pages. This one stopped me in my tracks then and remains a guiding principle today.

In the spirit of Father’s Day, I thought that I’d share Dr. Fischer’s wisdom with other parents who are doctors. ✸


J. Gregory Staffel, et al. Primary Care Otolaryngology. Alexandria, VA: American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, 2000, p. 64

Beginner’s Luck

I’ve written a lot of stuff over the years — journal articles, book chapters, opinion pieces — but I don’t think that I’ll ever top my first publication.

Our family had just moved to Brainerd, Minn., and I had the good fortune of taking Berteil Mahoney’s 8th grade composition class. She submitted one of my pieces to the Minnesota Star & Tribune (as it was called then) and it appeared in the paper’s “Neighbors” section on May 26th, 1984.

Mrs. Mahoney ignited what has become a lifelong love for writing. But, more importantly, she demonstrated the early importance of a good editor! ✸

SIMS Season — 2022

I’m privileged to serve as faculty for another season of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Summer Institute for Medical Students (SIMS). This page contains links to my teaching materials and some additional resources.


Many thanks to Kari Caldwell for involving me in SIMS and also the Professionals in Residence (PIR) program!


PowerPoints
Screening, Brief Intervention & Referral to Treatment (v. 05/11/2022)
Motivational Interviewing Skills Session

Key Readings [Kari will provide copies]
Alcohol Use Disorder (textbook chapter)
Taboo Topics in Addiction Treatment: An Empirical Review of Clinical Folklore (J Subst Abuse Treat 1993;10(3):303-16. PMID: 8315704)
The 10 Most Important Things Known About Addiction (Addiction 2010;105(1):6-13. PMID: 19712126)

Patient Assessment
The ASAM Criteria Assessment Interview Guideline (Adult)

Patient Resources
DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets (see: Chain Analysis of Problem Behavior, p. 31)
Motivational Interviewing Workbook
REBT Pocket Companion for Clients
Rethinking Drinking (consumer health website)
Tips for Cutting Down on Drinking


I’ve long advised medical students and residents to acquire some psychotherapy skills, regardless of their eventual specialty. Motivational interviewing (MI) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are relatively easy to learn and have broad clinical utility.

Some MI resources include:

  • Miller WR, Rollnick S. Motivational Interviewing, 3d ed. New York: Guilford Press, 2013 [classic textbook]
  • Sim MG, Wain T, Khong E. Influencing behaviour change in general practice. Part 1—brief intervention and motivational interviewing. Aust Fam Physician 2009;38(11):885-888 (PMID: 19893835; and here)
  • Sim MG, Wain T, Khong E. Influencing behaviour change in general practice. Part 2—motivational interviewing approaches. Aust Fam Physician 2009;38(12):986-989 (PMID: 20369152; and here)
  • Hall K, Gibbie T, Lubman DI. Motivational interviewing techniques—facilitating behaviour change in the general practice setting. Aust Fam Physician 2012;41(9):660-667 (PMID: 22962639; and here)
  • Searight HR. Counseling patients in primary care: evidence-based strategies. Am Fam Physician 2018;98(12):719-728 (PMID: 30525356)

In terms of CBT, I highly recommend the professional trainings at the Albert Ellis Institute, starting with the primary certificate practicum. Some other resources include:

  • DiGiuseppe RA, Doyle KA, Dryden W, Backx W. A Practitioner’s Guide to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, 3d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014 [classic textbook]
  • Harden M. Cognitive behaviour therapy—incorporating therapy into general practice. Aust Fam Physician 2012;41(9):668-671 (PMID: 22962640; and here)
  • Stuart MR, Lieberman JA. The Fifteen Minute Hour, 6th ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2019 [please see, in particular, Chapter 4]
  • Frenz DA. Another Arrow for Your Quiver: REBT for SUD. Minneapolis: David A. Frenz, M.D., 2018 [PowerPoint presentation]

Addictive Substances WYNTK

Way back in August, we filmed the tenth and final installment of Hazelden Publishing’s What You Need to Know (WYNTK) Series. Our set was at the beautiful Westminster Presbyterian Church in Downtown Minneapolis.

That installment, Addictive Substances, is now out — or, as my kids would say, it “dropped.” Wes Thomsen, the senior producer, generously gave me permission to post a segment here.

I appear at 1:50
Copyright © Hazelden Publishing. Used with permission

Many thanks to Wes ThomsenSylvia JaurezBrad HadsallChris Dougherty and Jennilee Park for conceiving and producing the series. I’m looking forward to ongoing adventures! ✸