The Addiction Social Work Fellowship program accepts two positions in Social Work annually. The program strives for excellence in clinical training, scholarship, research, and advocacy and includes specialty training in inpatient and outpatient addiction services, as well as related concurrent disorders training. The program prepares Fellows to work clinically in the field of addiction medicine and take leadership roles in academic and/or research settings.
The Addiction Medicine Consultation Team (AMCT) at St. Paul’s Hospital provides inpatient addiction medicine consultations to the entire hospital, including all medical and surgical wards. Social work within the AMCT involves liaising with nurses and physicians regarding addiction treatment coordination for medical comorbidities, inpatient withdrawal and detoxification management, and opioid agonist therapy. Providing inpatient counselling, motivational interviewing, connection to community supports, and follow-up treatment recommendations are also an important part of this role.
Vancouver Detox provides an excellent clinical learning environment for medical withdrawal management and related care. Fellows will provide full assessments and management in this 25-bed inpatient medically supervised withdrawal management unit, and will be exposed to the full spectrum of inpatient medical withdrawal management patient care. A Daytox program for outpatient medical withdrawal management and early treatment, located in the same facility, is also part of this rotation.
Fellows will learn about the process required for initial assessment and ongoing treatment of primary care outpatients with substance use disorders. A range of treatments are provided at Three Bridges, including opioid agonist maintenance treatment with methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) and outpatient withdrawal management, as well as group and one-on-one counselling (e.g., matrix model, Seeking Safety, SMART). This is an excellent interdisciplinary learning environment; Three Bridges is highly experienced with hosting trainees and exposing them to a wide range of activities.
Home base for this rotation is the Heartwood Centre for Women, a tertiary, provincial 28-bed residential addiction treatment facility for cisgender and transgender women. Fellows learn about the full spectrum of treatment, from withdrawal management to group therapy. There will also be some exposure to Fir Square Combined Care Unit, an inpatient stabilization and detoxification unit at BC Women’s Hospital for care for women using substances and infants exposed to these substances.
The Pain Management Program at OrionHealth (Vancouver Pain Clinic) is an intensive outpatient program. Fellows will learn about the process involved in initial assessments—including addiction/pain histories and screening instruments—to support diagnosis and treatment planning for patients with chronic pain disorders, many of whom also have concurrent substance use disorders.
The Psychiatric Assessment and Stabilization Unit / Consultation Liaison Service at St. Paul’s Hospital
The Psychiatric Assessment and Stabilization Unit (PASU) / Consultation Liaison Service (CLS) is an acute assessment and stabilization unit that deals primarily with concurrently disordered (e.g., addicted and mentally ill) patients requiring psychiatric admission. Fellows will learn about the consultation process which involves full psycho-social assessments, as well as liaising with nurses, physicians, and social workers regarding addiction treatment coordination for medical and psychiatric comorbidities. Providing inpatient counselling, motivational interviewing, connection to community supports, and follow-up treatment recommendations will be a focus of the care provided.
St. Paul’s Hospital’s Inner City Youth Mental Health Program hosts this rotation, which combines outpatient assessments, long-term residential care management, and in-hospital care of youth between the ages of 16 and 25.
Each Fellow will spend time in a community setting at a consistent site over the Fellowship in order to become familiar with a patient population living with substance use disorders and/or process addictions.