The American College of Academic Addiction Medicine (ACAAM) today announced the appointment of Bruce E. Hammond, Jr., CAE, as Executive Director, effective January 1, 2021. Mr. Hammond will step into the new position following the long-planned end-of-year retirement of Kevin Kunz, M.D., M.P.H., DFSAM, founding ACAAM President (2008) and Executive Vice President since 2013. ACAAM was formerly known as The ABAM Foundation and The Addiction Medicine Foundation.
Mr. Hammond will work closely with the ACAAM Board of Directors and ACAAM Vice President for Medical and Academic Affairs Tim Brennan, M.D., M.P.H. to help fulfill the organization’s mission. ACAAM’s mission is the development and comprehensive support of addiction medicine fellowship programs, faculty and fellows at academic medical institutions and treatment centers across the U.S. There are currently 81 addiction medicine fellowship programs recognized and accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), with more programs in development.
“We welcome Mr. Hammond to ACAAM, and look forward to benefiting from his years of organizational management experience as we expand our organization and increase access to fellowship trained addiction medicine specialists,” said Martha J. Wunsch, M.D., FAAP, DFSAM, President of ACAAM, Medical Director of Addiction Medicine Consultation/Liaison Services and Program Director of the Kaiser Permanente of Northern California Addiction Medicine Fellowship. “We’d also like to thank Dr. Kunz for his leadership as both founding President and long-time EVP. His leadership and advocacy have helped bring us to this new era where addiction medicine is well established in the house of medicine and our field is a sought after subspecialty for residents.”
Bruce Hammond has many years of experience in leadership roles of numerous medicine-focused organizations. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board (HMDCB), which provides professional certification to physicians across the United States who serve as hospice medical directors. Among the many highlights of his tenure with HMDCB are working with the group’s Board of Directors to lead the organization through uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; developing ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships with external organizations; developing and implementing strategies to increase the organization’s income, and leading planning and implementation of the Board’s Practice Analysis, which led to a redeveloped and updated outline for certification exams. He has also served in senior positions with the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and other associations.
“A number of months ago when Dr. Kunz announced his retirement plans, our Board began an intensive search for an experienced association management professional who could work with us to take our rapidly growing organization to the next level,” added Dr. Wunsch. “We know we have found just such an individual in Mr. Hammond.”
Unhealthy substance use and addiction contribute to one in four deaths and are estimated to cost the U.S. more than $740 billion annually. Surveys indicate that on average, a physician who spends four years in medical school and three years in a primary residency training program receives fewer than 12 hours of education regarding alcohol and other drug-related issues. The lack of physician education in the prevention of unhealthy substance use and treatment of addiction may also contribute to the low percentage of Americans receiving care for these conditions who need that care. For example, while nearly 22 million adolescents and adults need treatment for addiction involving drugs other than nicotine, only about one in ten actually receives it. ACAAM also has a focus on addressing the socioeconomic and health care inequities that result in Black, Latinx and Indigenous individuals receiving less care for substance use disorders and having more negative medical and social consequences, including incarceration instead of treatment.
ACGME accredited addiction medicine fellowships are one-year, full-time training programs that physicians may apply to after they have completed a residency in any ABMS-recognized specialty such as the primary care specialties that are most relevant to the addiction medicine subspecialty including internal medicine, family medicine, ob/gyn, emergency medicine and pediatrics. In these fellowship programs, physicians are trained in a wide range of clinical venues in the care of people engaged in unhealthy substance use or who meet medical criteria for addiction — from hospital wards, to outpatient addiction treatment programs, community primary care clinics and medical practices. Upon completion, physicians are able to work as expert clinicians in these environments as well as engage in teaching, research, advocacy and administrative positions that require in-depth addiction knowledge and expertise. Graduated fellows are also change agents for a nation in the midst of an addiction crisis.
Medical schools and teaching hospitals can now seek formal accreditation for addiction medicine fellowship training in accordance with ACGME approved program requirements. ACAAM developed the initial set of core competencies and program requirements for fellowship programs with anticipated ACGME program accreditation in mind. ACGME accreditation also enables fellowship programs to be eligible for funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Veterans Health Administration.
About the American College of Academic Addiction Medicine
Two landmark events brought the field into mainstream medicine and health care: the addiction medicine examination transitioned in 2017 to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board, the American Board of Preventive Medicine (now the administrative entity examining and certifying addiction medicine physicians); and ACGME began the first accreditations of addiction medicine fellowships in 2018. Additional fellowships are being accredited and a listing of the current programs can be found here. The very minimal number of ACGME fellowships needed to meet the projected need for addiction medicine physicians is 125. ACAAM and its supporting organizations intend to meet or exceed this objective within the next three years. For more information, please visit www.acaam.org.