August 17, 2017  

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Psychology Professor Leveraging Research in Medical Center Curriculum Project

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Dr. Michael Madson

A University of Southern Mississippi faculty member is a co-investigator on a grant-funded collaborative project designed to train medical students to help patients dealing with substance abuse.

Dr. Michael Madson, associate professor of counseling psychology at The University of Southern Mississippi, is working with the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson on integration of a substance abuse component in the UMMC curriculum. Madson is director of the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) program in USM’s Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic.

The grant, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), supports Dr. Julie Schumacher and Madson’s work to integrate Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) into UMMC’s curriculum to help its students learn intervention and treatment strategies for patients with problematic substance use, or at risk of developing substance use disorders. 

The primary benefits of the SBIRT approach include:

*Screening quickly assesses the severity of substance use and identifies the appropriate level of treatment.

*Brief intervention focuses on increasing insight and awareness regarding substance use and motivation toward behavioral change.

*Referral to treatment provides those identified as needing more extensive treatment with access to specialty care.

Unlike other research grants that may look at future outcomes, the UMMC project can have almost immediate effect in terms of patient care provision by graduating medical students, Madson said. The training can also help these students become leaders in the agencies where they work.

“It’s our goal to help medical students become more aware of how a person’s substance use might impact their health, and also how to have a conversation with them about the challenges they’re having that may be related to their use,” he said. “People go to physicians for their medical conditions, but it’s also an opportunity for an intervention for substance use issues, or making a referral for assistance in addressing it,” Madson said.

Familiarity and knowledge of the patient’s medical history is a factor in why some patients may be more comfortable opening up about a substance abuse problem with their doctor. “In many cases, the patient is more likely to talk with their primary care provider than seek out a substance abuse counselor,” he said.

Madson is Director of Undergraduate Studies for the psychology major at Southern Miss and teaches graduate courses in theories of counseling and psychotherapy, alcohol and drug abuse intervention, research methods and supervise the psychological services provided by advanced doctoral students. His undergraduate teaching duties include courses in alcohol and drug abuse, health psychology, and workshops in counseling procedures.

As director of the BASICS Program at USM, he provides specialized training and supervision of graduate students in regard to college student alcohol use and brief intervention. He is a licensed psychologist in Mississippi, member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers and serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Madson’s research includes college student alcohol use, harm reduction, and motivational interviewing (MI). He was also co-investigator on Hub City Steps (2008-2014), a study funded by the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH) evaluating an MI enhanced lifestyle intervention aimed at reducing hypertension among African American individuals. Along with Schumacher, Madson is the author of “Fundamentals of Motivational Interviewing.”

For more information about Madson’s work in the Department of Psychology, which is housed in the USM College of Education and Psychology, visit http://www.usm.edu/counseling-psychology/faculty/mike-madson.