Reducing Healthcare Professional Stigma of Individuals with Opioid Abuse Disorder Through Interprofessional Education
The US department of Health and Human Services calls for improved healthcare access for individuals experiencing opioid abuse and utilization of multidisciplinary team models.  Individuals with substance abuse disorder may have difficulty accessing services due to healthcare provider stigma.  Medical students who received structured education about substance abuse, and/or experienced direct contact with individuals with substance abuse disorders had significant improvements in comfort level and attitudes towards this patient population.  Interprofessional education (IPE) can encourage multidisciplinary team practice.  IPE can foster appreciation in students of the need for collaboration in practice.  The purpose of this mixed method, cohort study was to identify changes in student value of the IP team and to explore healthcare provider stigma connected with opioid abuse.
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, pharmacy and counseling students completed the Interprofessional Socialization and Valuing Scale (ISVS) before (9A) and after (9B) an IPE event, participated in facilitated IP round table discussions (RTD) and completed a satisfaction survey. The event was led by an IP panel and an opioid abuse survivor. A paired t-test compared pooled average ISVS 9A/9B means.
Significant improvements were found when comparing ISVS 9A to 9B (ISVS 9A = 5.98; ISVS 9B = 6.34; p Conclusion: Healthcare providers risk bias towards individuals who abuse substances, which can interfere with equitable access. Aligning healthcare education to address healthcare provider stigma and demonstrate the necessity for IP collaborative practice, can assist in changing the healthcare system to combat the opioid epidemic.
An IPE event including a personal story from an opioid abuse survivor facilitated with RTD, may positively influence healthcare student attitudes attached to individuals with substance abuse disorder and increase student value of IP team models for practice.