Internship Spotlight: Center for Addiction Medicine

Current student Elizabeth Oxendine shared the following about being an Intern at the Center for Addiction Medicine …

What did you do as an intern at this organization?
I had a lot of different responsibilities at the center! One of my main tasks was helping recruit participants for the studies I was working on through brainstorming outreach ideas and conducting phone screening calls with people who expressed interest. Additionally, I got a chance to run study visits with participants after observing visits ran by my supervisor at the start of the summer. During the visits I ran, I would ask participants questions about their substance use/mental health, complete urinalysis and CO monitoring, and distribute surveys. Another kind of study visit I ran included being the primary facilitator of the drug education curriculum we developed at MGH.

How did you find this internship?

What did you enjoy most about your internship?
I loved the connections I got to have with participants. As aforementioned, one of the studies that I worked on allowed me to be the primary facilitator of a drug education program developed at MGH called iDECIDE. This study includes seven visits with participants over a two month time period, meaning I saw participants at least once a week for seven weeks. It was so incredible to get to know participants better the deeper we got into the content. Participants each had their unique stories and feedback about the program and I got to have a different experience with every person.

What did you find challenging?
I would say that the most difficult part of my time at CAM was the process of learning how to contribute to a study that was designed and organized by people who had left the center. The clinical research coordinators who were the people who originally helped create the studies I worked on left right before or right after I arrived at CAM and it was a bit challenging navigating how to get trained on study procedures and protocols when they weren’t around to demonstrate the ways they had completed their responsibilities.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?
I would say that sharing your interests and goals with your supervisors right off the bat is a great way to have a meaningful internship experience. If you are open up front about what kinds of projects or tasks that you are curious about and would like to work on then your supervisors will have the time and knowledge to connect you to those opportunities. Supervisors are very dedicated to helping interns make the most out of their experiences and want to make sure you get a chance to learn about things you are interested in. If you are willing to ask for help getting to where you want to go, oftentimes they would be more than happy to lend you a supportive hand!

About the Organization

The Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH employs psychiatrists, neuroscientists, psychologists, neuropsychologists, and computer scientists who have conducted clinical and translational research that has resulted in new treatments for addictive disorders, extended the application of existing treatments, and reduced the stigma of addictive disorders.

Massachusetts General Hospital - A Teaching Hospital of Harvard Medical School

By Sheryl Rosenberg
Sheryl Rosenberg Associate Director