Background: Despite the enormous bur-den of disease attributable to drug and alcohol addiction, there remain major challenges in implementing evi-dence-based addiction care and treatment modalities. This is partly because of a persistent lack of accessible, specialized training in addiction medicine. In response, a new online certificate in addiction medicine has been established in Vancouver, Canada, free of charge to participants globally.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate and examine changes in knowledge acquisition among health care professionals before and after the completion of an online certificate in addiction medicine.
Methods: Learners enrolled in a 17-module certificate program and completed pre- and postknowledge tests using online multiple-choice questionnaires. Knowledge acquisition was then evaluated using a repeated measures t test of mean test scores before and after the online course. Following the certificate completion, a subset of learners completed the online course evaluation form.
Results: Of the total 6985 participants who registered for the online course between May 15, 2017 and February 22, 2018, 3466 (49.62%) completed the online pretest questionnaire. A total of 1010 participants completed the full course, achieving the required 70% scores. TThe participants self-reported working in a broad range of health-related fields, including nursing (n=371), medicine (n=92), counseling or social work (n=69), community health (n=44), and pharmacy (n=34). The median graduation year was 2010 (n=363, interquartile range 2002-2015). Knowledge of the addiction medicine increased significantly postcertificate (mean difference 28.21; 95% CI 27.32 to 29.10; P<.001). Physicians scored significantly higher on the pretest than any other health discipline, whereas the greatest improvement in scores was seen in the counseling professions and community outreach.
Conclusions: This free, online, open-access certificate in addiction medicine appeared to improve knowledge of learners from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. Scaling up low threshold learning opportunities may further advance addiction medicine training, thereby helping to narrow the evidence-to-practice gap.
Keywords: education, distance; medical education; substance-related disorders.
©Lauren Renee Gorfinkel, Amanda Giesler, Huiru Dong, Evan Wood, Nadia Fairbairn, Jan Klimas. Originally published in JMIR Medical Education (http://mededu.jmir.org), 24.05.2019.