Final Meeting #45 - Via ZOOM

via ZOOM

April 29 - 30, 2021

Minutes of the Final AMSP Meeting April 29-30, 2021

by Marc A. Schuckit, M.D., Director

A brief introduction: As stated on the AMSP website, our mission is to promote optimal education in medical schools regarding the identification and care of people with alcohol use disorders and other substance-related problems. This work has been supported from its inception in 1999 through the current 2021 by Anheuser Busch and the Anheuser Busch Foundation. Over our 22 years of work the sponsors have asked for nothing in return for their support other than improvement in alcohol education among health are deliverers. Our job could not have been accomplished without their help, and support over the years we have had the pleasure of working with several members of Anheuser Busch and the foundation to whom we offer special thanks and much gratitude. Special thanks goes to Mary Ellen Pado, who has worked diligently to make sure that we continued to receive support for our mission.

We also owe a great debt to Marcy Gregg who served as the administrator for AMSP for the first two decades, as well as to MaryAnn Klima, who served in that role for the last two years.

As demonstrated on our website, over the 22 years we were able to help develop 115 lectures to be available free of charge to educators around the world. Most presentations include slides, lecture outlines, and references regarding for a wide range of topics related to alcohol and drug education and delivery of care. We hope that people interested in these important topics will continue to go to our website at

Over the years 123 individuals have participated in AMSP meetings. Through this approach they were offered advice on how to flourish in an academic environment and given the opportunity to practice approaches to a developing papers, lectures, posters, grand round presentations, and grant applications.The majority of scholars remain in academic appointments, with an estimated more than twenty who have gone on to become directors of residencies, postdoctoral programs, or, in one case, a dean of students.

Minutes of the ZOOM meeting on April 29, 2021

Present at the meeting were first year scholars, Drs. Alison Yurasek from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Jarrod Ellingson from the University of Colorado, Matthew Meisel from Brown University, and Jason Oliver from Duke University. Also present were second year scholars Drs. Rachel Gunn from Brown University, Alejandro Meruelo from UCSD, and Neeral Sheth from Rush University. Two guests were invited to attend this ZOOM based meeting, Jeffrey Sosnowski, Assistant Dean for Medical Education from South Alabama Medical School, and Loretta Jophlin from the University of Louisville Medical School.

The first order of business was to review the schedule for the two-day meeting. This included assigning times for first year scholars to deliver their full lectures, second year scholars to deliver abbreviated lectures regarding the material that they had developed in their first AMSP year, times for reports by all scholars describing their accomplishments at their medical schools regarding alcohol and drug education, as well as discussions of academic challenges and how to flourish in academic medicine.

Marc Schuckit began with an overview of his presentation on “How to Tell A Story”. This was delivered in a manner that facilitated suggestions from first- and second-year scholars regarding how the material might be presented in a more optimal format, as well as the opportunity of individuals to share their own experience in developing their AMSP project.

Following this, Marc demonstrated his most recent experience in taking a 40-minute lecture and cutting the time to 15-minutes and to a different type of audience. Before the meeting, the scholars had been sent the longer original lecture, the lecture that had been cut back, and the outline for that shorter lecture. The group then worked together to take the 15-minute lecture and using the slide sorter, delete slides (and therefore delete topics) while further cutting back the lecture to 10-minutes. Marc then gave a brief representation of the lecture in 10-minute form, thus demonstrating full lectures, a version of the lecture cut in half, and a 10-minute version of the lecture.

Next, Jarrod Ellingson, first year scholar from the University of Colorado, presented his lecture on the use of mindfulness therapy as an approach to helping individuals with alcohol and drug problems. Jarrod’s lecture outline and slides had been developed working with the second year scholar Alejandro Meruelo. The lecture went very well, and the group then discussed the importance of several of the slides, some minor changes that could be made in slides, and some general topics regarding the flow of logic within the lecture, all of which were relatively easy for Jarrod to incorporate. Subsequently, Jarrod modified the lecture and outline, and it is now posted on the AMSP website.

Next, the group segued into a discussion of academic challenges. Much of the time was taken dealing with the issue of how one decides whether to change universities, the subsequent search that occurs, and the characteristics that went into the final decision about the transition period. One of the scholars used as an example his recent experiences changing from one university to the other. Additional topics included how to coordinate academic responsibilities with family life, the importance of protecting research/teaching time in a busy academic environment, and time management.

The remainder of the afternoon was used to begin to discuss and modify schedules regarding the structure of day 2.

Minutes of the ZOOM meeting on April 30, 2021

The morning began with a demonstration of the full lecture by first year scholar, Alison Yurasek from the University of Florida at Gainesville. Ali reminded us that while most lectures on our website are aimed at first year medical students, she chose to modify the audience to be members of a school board and the lecture. Ali worked with second year scholar Rachel Gunn and the presentation went very well. Among the topics discussed after the presentation were: Marc’s preference that slides appear with one button press rather than fade in; how the use of bolding and Arial font can make slides much easier to observe in the back of the room; the importance of having individuals names and jargon that are mentioned within the lecture appear on the slides so that the audience can be sure that they heard the word correctly; and Ali’s excellent use of the animation, definitions of important jargon, and presentation of a case history. Some time was spent on the few slides that were a bit too busy with a demonstration of how to decrease the words and thus increase the font.

Next, Alejandro Meruelo, second year scholar form UCSD, presented his report of accomplishments at UCSD. Alejandro has been mentoring medical students interested in alcohol-related treatment and research and has also been providing alcohol and substance-use related teaching for Psychiatry Residents. He has volunteered this year as a mentor for the Research Society of Alcoholism (RSA) for those students interested in alcohol-related research careers. On the research side, Dr. Meruelo has also been investigating the interrelationships between alcohol use disorders and anxiety disorders, and alcohol use disorders and mood disorders. He hopes to present some of his recent work at his upcoming research conferences later this year. Finally, he has been the director of a journal club focused on interventional psychiatry for treating mental illness and substance use with an emphasis on alcohol use disorder.

Rachel Gunn, second year scholar from Brown University, next presented a brief version of her original 40-minute lecture, but now as adapted for high school students. This was an excellent demonstration of the process of shortening a lecture with a minimal to modest amount of time. The material demonstrated an excellent procedure for avoiding jargon, using rounded off numbers (rather than extended decimal points), and a wonderful balance of pros and cons of arrange of issues. The discussion following the presentation mentioned the possibility that it might be beneficial when presenting both sides of an issue to be certain the audience understands clearly what you believe the most appropriate conclusion might be.

Next, Neeral Sheth from Rush University in Chicago, presented an overview of his accomplishments as his medical school. Dr. Sheth continued to be a course director for a virtual Addiction Medicine elective course which is now in its second year. He also continued to mentor medical students interested in addiction medicine and psychiatry, and served as the faculty advisor for the psychiatry student interest group. Many students have been taught the AMSP teaching principles as they assist Dr. Sheth with creating didactic material within addiction medicine and psychiatry. In addition, Dr. Sheth was recently appointed as the Division Chief for Medical Educational Programs & Liaison to Allied Programs within his department, and will therefore have a role in integrating psychiatric education between the medical, nursing, and health sciences colleges within Rush University. Dr. Sheth will also be starting a new position as the Director of the Psychiatry Clerkship at Rush Medical College, where he will direct the psychiatric curriculum for all Rush Medical College students.

This was then followed by Alejandro Meruelo’s draft of a shortened lecture now focused on staff at a sober living environment, and with a topic related to the treatment of alcohol use disorders. The presentation went well, and ran a tad long, so the group next turned to a discussion of how this lecture might remain as effective as it was but delivered in a shorter version. Alejandro accepted the challenge to use the next break in the meeting to shorten the lecture to about 10-minutes with about 10 slides.

Following a short break, Matthew Meisel next demonstrated how someone might extract a lecture from the website, make minimal (if any) changes and deliver the material after perhaps briefly reviewing only on or two of the references. He selected the lecture originally developed by Jennifer Merrill. This was an excellent presentation regarding how effective the slides and outlines listed on the website are and how easily they can be used by other individuals with a minimum amount of time. The lecture was delivered in a relatively shorter than intended period and the group discussed ways of expanding anecdotal information, adding information about real and disguised or illustrative cases, going off on tangents (i.e., genetics) and so on as one monitors the time when delivering the lecture.

Next, Rachel Gunn, second year scholar from Brown University, presented her recent accomplishments regarding alcohol and drug education at her university. Rachel continues to chair the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies’ (CAAS) Rounds committee in the School of Public Health at Brown, a group that hosts weekly speakers with expertise in alcohol and substance use research, teaching, and treatment. This series has continued to be hosted virtually over the past year and continues to be open to those outside of the Brown University community, which has greatly expanded the audience, including students from across the nation. Also, two planned research presentations (Research Society on Alcoholism and Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction) that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were accepted for 2021 virtual meetings, including a lecture entitled the Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction, which was delivered in March of 2021, and the symposium at the Research Society on Alcoholism will be presented in June of 2021. Dr. Gunn’s summer course for the pre-college program at Brown University will also be resumed this summer, of which she will teach two sections. Dr. Gunn also presented her AMSP presentation on alcohol and cannabis co-use to the T32 program at the Prevention Research Center (Berkley, CA). In the coming year, this lecture will also be offered to the T32 program’s etiology course at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. Finally, Dr. Gunn served as a mentor in the Diversity mentoring Program at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University where she is able to share AMSP principles with her mentee.

Following this, Alejandro Meruelo demonstrated his 10-minute version of his original lecture. The presentation went very well, and once again demonstrated the ease in which a longer lecture can always be modified for a shorter lecture or for a different audience.

Matthew Meisel, first year scholar from Brown University, next presented his accomplishments and upcoming plans to increasing education around substance use disorders. He also discussed his plans to develop a series of lectures and presentations focused on issues pertinent to alcohol use assessment and treatment to be delivered to young adults who never attend college in the Providence, Rhode Island area. Matthew also mentored a student who was working on her Master’s thesis at Brown University School of Public Health and guided her on AMSP principles. Finally, Dr. Meisel will deliver a lecture on social networks and heavy drinking at a conference on emerging adulthood that will be attended by psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists where he will include slides from the AMSP webpage and will apply AMSP principles.

Next, Dr Allison Yurasek, first year scholar from the University of Florida, next shared her current and future efforts at her university to enhance alcohol and drug education. Ali is currently the Scientific Co-Director of the Center for Behavioral Economic Health Research (CBEHR) at UF where she assists with the planning of monthly research seminars. As part of this role, she invited 3 alcohol and drug researchers to present their work to students and faculty across UF. She also mentored two undergraduate student interns in the spring 2021 semester. These students assisted with her addiction related research and submitted a final project that incorporated alcohol and drug education and research. Ali also presented her research on cannabis and sleep difficulties and cannabis use among truant adolescents at two annual conferences: The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction. Both presentations integrated AMSP principles.

Next, Jarrod Ellingson, first year scholar from the University of Colorado, presented his accomplishments regarding alcohol and drug use disorders. Jarrod has continued to provide lectures to psychiatry residents and addiction medicine fellows in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. In addition, he will start to co-mentor a postdoc this summer. Further, as part of a summer research program, he will mentor an undergraduate student and provide a lecture to undergraduates on behavior genetics, with an emphasis on genetic/environmental risk factors for alcohol use disorder.

It should be noted that due to an emergency problem back home, Jason Oliver was not available on day 2 to give his scheduled lecture and his report. Marc has subsequently spoken with Jason and with his second-year mentor, Neeral Sheth, and there are plans for Jason to meet with Marc and Neeral to present the lecture, discuss things that might be changed, and finalize the lecture for the website. Ae that time, they will also discuss Jason’s report.

The meeting ended with a discussion of the accomplishments of AMSP over the years and the shared sadness that the program was not going to continue. Second year scholars will be receiving plaques of thanks for their participation in the two years, including their role as mentors as second year scholars. First year scholars are offered great appreciation for their efforts this year and will be receiving a certificate.

Marc reminded everyone to keep in touch. He hopes that their excellent work to advance education on alcohol and drug issues at their institutions will continue. He noted that he is looking forward to seeing those who attend a Research Society on Alcoholism or similar meetings over the years.

Layout and design by Brian Klima