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About Seminars

Seminars are offered to the UC San Diego Addiction Psychiatry Advanced Residency. Fellows will participate in the core seminar and will be expected to attend Departmental Grand Rounds and clinical rotation conferences.

Some seminars are interdisciplinary and are attended by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and addiction therapists and in some cases, staff from other medical specialties. Advanced fellows may choose to participate in the elective seminars or in other departmental electives. Addiction fellows spend approximately 4 hours in seminars and supervision per week.

Required Seminars

Crash Course in Addiction Psychiatry

Course Director: David Stiffler, M.D.

Fellows meet for approximately 12 1-hour sessions to learn introductory material in the field of addiction psychiatry.  The Course Director is responsible for organizing the course and attends all sessions.  UC San Diego faculty and guest speakers may present on specific topics.

Addiction Seminar

Course Director:  Ryan Trim, Ph.D.

Fellows meet for 15 1-hour sessions to learn about core topics in addiction psychiatry with a multi-disciplinary group including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and addiction therapists and in some cases, staff from other medical specialties. 

Core Seminar in Addiction Psychiatry

Course Director:  David Stiffler, M.D.

This weekly seminar runs for 6 months for approximately 2-hours, and provides an introduction to the epidemiology, sociology, psychology and clinical course of substance use use disorders and the major prevention and treatment approaches to substance use and dependence not covered in other courses.  The Course Directors are responsible for organizing the course faculty to present specific topics.

Topics cover a sequence of major topics that can include models of addiction, neurobiology of addictive disorders, drugs and drug paraphernalia, medical complications, overdoses and withdrawal, adolescent drug use, women/pregnancy and addiction, dual diagnosis, and medically supervised withdrawal.  The core seminar also addresses the major drug classes (opioids, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, other stimulants, other depressants, hallucinogens and inhalants).  For each drug class, the seminar provides an overview of the epidemiology, pharmacology, neurobiology, natural history, pharmacologic and behavioral treatments regarding the drug of use.  The seminar also addresses issues regarding cost-effectiveness of treatment, spirituality, and an introduction to mutual-help groups.  Use of basic textbooks in Addiction Psychiatry is the core reading for this course. 

The psychotherapy focus covers the major, evidence-based individual and group therapy models used in the treatment of patients with addictive disorders. Topics include motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive and behavioral treatments, interpersonal treatments, trauma focused approaches, dialectical behavioral therapy, and mutual help group integration. The seminar makes use of readings of key articles describing the treatments and their research base, didactic presentations, and case discussion.  

There is a focus on special populations and issues that arise in the assessment and treatment of addiction populations. For example, the seminar will cover treatment and clinical research pertaining to sex differences, multi-cultural issues, dual diagnosis populations, (e.g., personality disorders, psychotic-realm disorders, depression, anxiety) criminal justice populations (e.g., drug court diversion, forensic, domestic violence), Gay/Lesbian/Transgender populations, and DCF involved-populations (e.g., parenting issues), culminating with case discussion.

Western Region Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Seminar

Course Directors:  Michael Hoefer, M.D.; Alexis Ritvo, M.D.; Christopher Blazes, M.D.; David Stiffler, M.D.

Fellows meet monthly for 90 minutes of an extended lecture on a specialty addiction topic not easily covered with general expertise.  This lecture is attended virtually with fellows from about 8 other fellowships, allowing for sharing of expertise and networking of the professional academic addiction training programs.

Interdisciplinary UC San Diego Psychiatry Fellowship Curriculum

 Course Director:  Kristin Beizai, M.D.

Fellows in addiction, geriatric, and consult liaison psychiatry meet bimonthly for 1 hour virtually to review common topics for the fellows.  Examples include ethical considerations, having difficult conversations, and quality improvement initiatives.  This also provides an opportunity for fellows to interact together.

Elective Seminars 

Addictions Research Seminar

Course Director:  Andrea Spadoni, Ph.D.

The twice monthly seminar, facilitated by Dr. Spadoni, brings in outside speakers and arranges trainee lectures to cover hot topics, intriguing findings, controversial issues, new methods, and statistical issues in longitudinal studies. The goal is to prepare addiction fellows of the future to identify neural, cognitive psychophysiological, genetic, epigenetic, medical, and stress related risks for, and consequences of, addictions over the lifespan, with the ultimate goal of aiding researchers to use this mechanistic information to develop novel interventions. This seminar is also where trainees will practice their peer conference presentations, dissertation proposals and defense, and job talks. This seminar originated from lab meetings going back to the 1980s, and has evolved and grown over 30 years. Dr. Spadoni ensures professional development training opportunities are incorporated into the training opportunities. In the last two years, the following individuals, among others, have presented a research symposium relevant to the training grant (in addition to our SDSU and UCSD-based mentors): Drs. George Koob (NIAAA); Gregory Brown (UCSD), Fulton Crews (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill); Igor Koutsenok (UCSD), Barbara Mason (TSRI), Carrie Randall (Medical University of South Carolina), Sara Jo Nixon (University of Florida), Lynne Smith (UC Los Angeles), and Andrea King (University of Chicago).

UCSD Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Trainees are invited and encouraged to meet with Grand Rounds visitors each month during their visit. A survey is sent to all faculty and trainees to nominate the Department's guest speakers each year. A full list of Grand Rounds speakers can be found on the department website.

Multidisciplinary Pain Conference

Director:  Mark Wallace, M.D.

This conference meets once monthly, and is composed of psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, pain anesthesia fellows, and pain anesthesia faculty.  Patient's primary care physicians are also invited.  A portion of the conference is devoted to didactics about the psychological aspects of pain and addiction and the remainder is for discussion of complicated cases with feedback from a multidisciplinary approach, including addiction.

IV.C.1.a) Curriculum design must be consistent with the program's aims (IV.A.1.), and must demonstrate a systematic approach, with attention to evidence-based principles and scientific literature, standards of the profession, and the developmental appropriateness for learners (CORE).