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The following seminars are offered to the UCSD Addiction Psychiatry Advanced Residency.  Fellows will participate in the core seminar and will be expected to attend Departmental Grand Rounds and clinical rotation conferences. Some of these seminars are interdisciplinary and are attended by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and addiction therapists and in some cases, staff from other medical specialties. Advanced fellows may choose to participate in the elective seminars or in other departmental electives. Addiction fellows spend approximately 4 hours in seminars and supervision per week.

 Required Seminars:

 Crash Course in Addiction Psychiatry: Course Director: Carla Marienfeld, MD

 Fellows meet for four 1-hour sessions to learn introductory material in the field of addiction psychiatry.  Topics include:  Intro to Pharmacology of Addictions, Introduction to Individual and Group Psychotherapy for Addiction, and Health Systems in Addiction Treatment. The Course Director is responsible for organizing the course and attends all sessions.  UCSD faculty and guest speakers may present on specific topics.

 Core Seminar in Addiction Psychiatry: Course Director: Carla Marienfeld, MD and Kara Bagot, MD

This weekly seminar runs for 6 months, and provides an introduction to the epidemiology, sociology, psychology and clinical course of substance abuse use disorders and the major prevention and treatment approaches to substance abuse and dependence.  The Course Directors are responsible for organizing the course faculty from the UCSD Department of Psychiatry Addiction Special Interest Group present specific topics. Topics cover a sequence of major topics that can include models of addiction, neurobiology of addictive disorders, drugs and drug paraphernalia, medical complications, overdoses and withdrawal, adolescent drug abuse, women/pregnancy and addiction, dual diagnosis, and medically supervised withdrawal.  The core seminar also addresses the major drug classes (opioids, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, other stimulants, other depressants, hallucinogens and inhalants).  For each drug class, the seminar provides an overview of the epidemiology, pharmacology, neurobiology, natural history, pharmacologic and behavioral treatments regarding the drug of abuse.  The seminar also addresses issues regarding cost-effectiveness of treatment, spirituality, and an introduction to mutual-help groups.  Use of basic textbooks in Addiction Psychiatry is the core reading for this course.  Child and adolescent psychiatry fellows and other trainees participate in this course.

Addictions Research Seminar:  Course Director:  Andrea Spadoni, PhD

The twice monthly seminar, facilitated by Dr. Spadoni, brings in outside speakers and arranges trainee lectures to cover hot topics, intriguing findings, controversial issues, new methods, and statistical issues in longitudinal studies. The goal is to prepare addiction fellows of the future to identify neural, cognitive psychophysiological, genetic, epigenetic, medical, and stress related risks for, and consequences of, addictions over the lifespan, with the ultimate goal of aiding researchers to use this mechanistic information to develop novel interventions. This seminar is also where trainees will practice their peer conference presentations, dissertation proposals and defense, and job talks. This seminar originated from lab meetings going back to the 1980s, and has evolved and grown over 30 years. Dr. Spadoni ensures professional development training opportunities are incorporated into the training opportunities. In the last two years, the following individuals, among others, have presented a research symposium relevant to the training grant (in addition to our SDSU and UCSD-based mentors): Drs. George Koob (NIAAA); Gregory Brown (UCSD), Fulton Crews (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill); Igor Koutsenok (UCSD), Barbara Mason (TSRI), Carrie Randall (Medical University of South Carolina), Sara Jo Nixon (University of Florida), Lynne Smith (UC Los Angeles), and Andrea King (University of Chicago).

 UCSD Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds:

Trainees are invited and encouraged to meet with Grand Rounds visitors each month during their visit. A survey is sent to all faculty and trainees to nominate the Department's guest speakers each year. A full list of Grand Rounds speakers can be found on the Department website at

 Psychotherapy for Substance Use: Course Director: Pat Judd, PhD

This seminar meets weekly for 6 weeks covers the major, evidence-based individual and group therapy models used in the treatment of patients with addictive disorders. Topics include motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive and behavioral treatments, interpersonal treatments, trauma focused approaches, dialectical behavioral therapy, and mutual help group integration. The seminar makes use of readings of key articles describing the treatments and their research base, didactic presentations, and case discussion.

Special Populations in Substance Use: Course Director:  Kara Bagot, MD

This didactic seminar will meet weekly for 6 weeks, and is especially focus on special populations and issues that arise in the assessment and treatment of addiction populations. For example, the seminar will cover treatment and clinical research pertaining to sex differences, multi-cultural issues, dual diagnosis populations, (e.g., personality disorders, psychotic-realm disorders, depression, anxiety) criminal justice populations (e.g., drug court diversion, forensic, domestic violence), Gay/Lesbian/Transgender populations, and DCF involved-populations (e.g., parenting issues), culminating with case discussion.

 Clinical Case Conference: Course Director: Nick Mellos, MD

Fellows are expected to draw from clinical encounters and their personal interest in order to research a topic that is clinically relevant to addiction treatment providers. Fellows then present their topic to colleagues, faculty, pre- and post-doctoral students.  Before and afterward, they receive peer feedback on their use of principles of adult learning.  The conference will be presented twice yearly, but the fellow will meet with the course director a few times to prepare their lecture.

Multidisciplinary Pain Conference:  Director:  Mark Wallace, MD

 This conference meets once monthly, and is composed of psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, pain anesthesia fellows, and pain anesthesia faculty.  Patient's primary care physicians are also invited.  A portion of the conference is devoted to didactics about the psychological aspects of pain and addiction and the remainder is for discussion of complicated cases with feedback from a multidisciplinary approach, including addiction.


Every addiction psychiatry fellow will present one Clinical Case Conference.  Additionally, each fellow is expected to present in at least one other forum on a topic of interest.  Audiences can include: Child/Adolescent Fellows, Treatment Team Meetings, Primary Care meetings, Multidisciplinary Pain Conference, other UCSD fellows, other UCSD faculty.  In all of their clinical rotations, they will provide consultation, guidance and team leadership for more junior fellows as well as psychology fellows and other master's level clinicians.