Evaluation of the Substance Abuse Research and Education Training (SARET) program: Stimulating health professional students to pursue careers in substance use research

Kathleen Hanley, Sewit Bereket, Ellen Tuchman, Frederick G. More, Madeline A. Naegle, Adina Kalet, Keith Goldfeld, Marc N. Gourevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We developed and implemented the Substance Abuse Research Education and Training (SARET) program for medical, dental, nursing, and social work students to address the dearth of health professionals pursuing research and careers in substance use disorders (SUD). SARET has 2 main components: (1) a novel online curriculum addressing core SUD research topics, to reach a large number of students; (2) a mentored summer research experience for in-depth exposure. Methods: Modules were integrated into the curricula of the lead institution, and of 5 external schools. We assessed the number of Web modules completed and their effect on students’ interest in SUD research. We also assessed the impact of the mentorship experience on participants’ attitudes and early career trajectories, including current involvement in SUD research. Results: Since 2008, over 24,000 modules have been completed by approximately 9700 individuals. In addition to integration of the modules into curricula at the lead institution, all 5 health-professional partner schools integrated at least 1 module and approximately 5500 modules were completed by individuals outside the lead institution. We found an increase in interest in SUD research after completion of the modules for students in all 4 disciplines. From 2008 to 2015, 76 students completed summer mentorships; 8 students completed year-long mentorships; 13 published in SUD-related journals, 18 presented at national conferences, and 3 are actively engaged in SUD-related research. Mentorship participants reported a positive influence on their attitudes towards SUD-related clinical care, research, and interprofessional collaboration, leading in some cases to changes in career plans. Conclusions: A modular curriculum that stimulates clinical and research interest in SUD can be successfully integrated into medical, dental, nursing, and social work curricula. The SARET program of mentored research participation fostered early research successes and influenced career choice of some participants. Longer-term follow-up will enable us to assess more distal careers of the program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-483
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2018


  • Interprofessional education
  • Web-based learning
  • research training
  • substance abuse
  • substance use disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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