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.
The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), an independent medical board, formed in 2007. I was a member of its inaugural class in 2009. This eventually gave way to the American Board of Preventative Medicine (ABPM), of which addiction medicine has been a subspecialty since 2018.
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.