Transforming Millennial Medical and Nurse Practitioner Students into EMPOWERed Community MAT Provider
In Greenville County the need to increase the number of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) providers – particularly providers who provide care to underserved populations (uninsured and underinsured) was identified. As a result Project EMPOWER (Engaging Medicine Providers On Ways to Enhance Recovery) was developed. Project EMPOWER provides nurse practitioner (NP) students from Clemson University School of Nursing and medical (MD) students from University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville the necessary training to receive a DATA 2000 waiver. In addition to the MAT training, students receive clinical experience with MAT providers and attend recovery meetings in the community. The clinical experiences allows the students to see a MAT provider treat persons with opioid use disorder (OUD), but equally as important, the experience humanizes the patient as the student hears firsthand stories of the patients’ journey from introduction to opioids to addiction to recovery. Recovery meetings provide a holistic picture of the impact substance use disorder has not only on the patient and their family, but also on the community as a whole.