I’ve been practicing addiction medicine since 2005. A lot has happened between then and now, including regional recognition of our specialty by Minnesota Monthly in 2014.
You can trace the history of the specialty back to at least 1954. That’s when the New York City Medical Society on Alcoholism, progenitor of the eventual American Society of Addiction (ASAM) formed. In 1983, it began awarding a certificate of added qualification (CAQ), which was still available when I entered the profession. My certificate—December 6th, 2008—is probably from the final CAQ cohort.
I was surprised when Minnesota Monthly notified me that I was going be included in its 2014 “Top Doctors” issue. The letter didn’t indicate which specialty, so I e-mailed the publisher. They replied, “You have been nominated in the field of Addiction Medicine.” This was a new category. Our specialty had finally achieved mainstream recognition—grocery stores, gas stations, home mailboxes!
Five of us were listed in 2014. The number has grown over time and this year includes 17 addiction medicine physicians.
Mpls.St.Paul Magazine publishes a competing list. I hope that it discovers addiction medicine before I retire. I’m only 52, so there’s still lots of time. ✸
___ Postscript. We intentionally run a very small practice—it’s just my longtime assistant, Kris Jamieson, and me. She’s the one answering the phone and e-mails, chasing down labs results and medical records, calling pharmacies, completing prior authorizations, and offering constant encouragement to patients (they tell me “I love Kris” and “Kris is great” all the time). Behind every top doctor there’s a top assistant. This recognition is just as much hers.
No, not *that* kind of mask! I’m thinking about the airline safety announcement. It’s a great metaphor for health professionals—it’s hard to help others when we’re struggling ourselves.
Please join me for a weekend retreat at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s aptly named Renewal Center, located on its beautiful Center City, Minn., campus. I’ll be bringing together a decade of work on burnout, resilience and wellbeing, with a big emphasis on acquiring new self-care skills.
Anyone working in healthcare welcome. And, yes, Hazelden Betty Foundation is known for addiction treatment—but you don’t need to have a personal history of addiction to attend the retreat. ✸
_____ Postscript. The retreat’s title—This Is Water—is a riff on a small but profound book by David Foster Wallace.
As a preacher’s kid, I just couldn’t resist the pun!
June 30th marked my 700th day of Musing. Many thanks to InteraXon for bringing this amazing technology to consumers.
For more on my Muse journey, please see here and here. Please also see this video beginning at around 26:00.
I’m planning to lead some meditation retreats in 2022 (Covid got in the way the past two years). Each attendee will receive a Muse S and meditation instruction over the course of a weekend. More to come after I work out the details. ✸
Here’s a quirky chapter from my early professional life. I worked for Multidata, a small company then based in Minnesota, before, during and after medical school. Our main products and services dealt with pollen—the stuff that causes allergies. More on that perhaps in future posts.
In the early 1990s, we sought to diversify and landed on mosquito forecasts. Go ahead and chuckle, but there was actually a decent market for the product.
Our first media appearance was in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, June 30th, 1995—right before the Independence Day holiday. This led to a lot more media, both that weekend and in the years that followed.
So here’s a tribute to Dennis Gebhard, Multidata’s founder, and his business partner, Bill Erickson, for urging imaginations to run wild. Those were truly magical years! ✸
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! ✸
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.
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)