The Full Picture

Jul 2, 2024

When infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS intersect with substance abuse, treatment becomes more complicated. Through educational partnerships with Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and Seton Hall University, Broadway House has become an effective training ground for future medical professionals.

Coordinated by Lauro L. Rocha, DNP, APN-BC, the partnerships were established three years ago and bring students from both schools to our facility monthly for a full day of interdisciplinary training. Each cohort, which includes Medical Students and Physician Assistants in training, hears about medical assisted treatment for substance abuse, social services interventions, and treatment plan development specifically for those with HIV/AIDS.

“As future medical professionals, it is important that students develop the full picture of each patient before deciding on an effective treatment plan,” Dr. Rocha explains. “Our goal is to educate students on the disease of addiction—including making them aware of medicated assisted treatments like methadone and suboxone—but within the context of other medical and behavioral issues that complicate treatment.”

At Broadway House, the students benefit from a full day of sessions on all aspects of the comprehensive care we provide. First, Dr. Rocha leads sessions on motivational interviewing, introduces case studies on addictions, and assigns research on the state’s methadone clinics so students will be ready to make referrals. Next, Case Manager Mauricio “Max” Rodriguez, MCM, and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor Cheryl McCutcheon, LSAC, discuss the signs of addiction and the tools available to ensure that patients have long-term support, followed by a guest speaker on HIV/AIDS. Later, Rodolfo A. Munera, MD, leads a reflection about what the students have learned.

An illuminating part of the day is a question and answer session featuring Broadway House residents, who share their experiences with substance abuse and their ongoing journey toward healing. “It’s very important that the students meet residents who are comfortable speaking about their substance abuse,” Dr. Rocha explains. “Our residents tell their stories: How they arrived at Broadway House, the care and treatment they’ve received here, and their hopes for the future. For the students, this emphasizes the importance of gaining the complete perspective about every patient.”