Engaging health professional students in substance abuse research: development and early evaluation of the SARET program
There is a need to build the ranks of health care professionals engaged in substance abuse (SA)-focused clinical research. The authors simultaneously developed and evaluated SARET, the Substance Abuse Research Education and Training program. The fundamental goal of this interprofessional program is to stimulate medical, dental, and nursing student interest and experience in SA research. Evaluation aims to understand program feasibility and acceptability and to assess short-term impact.
SARET comprises 2 main components: stipend-supported research mentorships and a Web-based module series, consisting of 6, interactive, multimedia modules addressing core SA research topics, delivered via course curricula and in the research mentorships. Authors assessed program feasibility and impact on student interest in conducting SA research by tracking participation and conducting participant focus groups and online surveys.
Thirty early health care professional students completed mentorships (25 summer, 5 yearlong) and 1324 completed at least 1 Web-module. SARET was considered attractive for the opportunity to conduct clinically oriented research and to work with health care professionals across disciplines. Mentorship students reported positive impact on their vision of SA-related clinical care, more positive attitudes about research, and, in some cases, change in career plans. Web-based modules were associated with enhanced interest in SA (35% increase, P = 0.005, in those somewhat/very interested for neurobiology module) and SA research (+38%, P < 0.001 for activation, +45%, P < 0.001 for personal impact, +7%, P = 0.089 for neurobiology).
The SARET program stimulates SA clinical and research interest among students of nursing, medicine, and dentistry and may lend itself to dissemination.
PubMed URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22864401