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USD Researcher Receives SAMHSA Grant to Train Students in Addiction Treatment

Nathaniel Steinlicht headshot Nathaniel Steinlicht, a research associate in the Sanford School of Medicine, received a grant from SAMHSA that allows USD students to receive MAT training.

VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota Department of Family Medicine research associate Nathaniel Steinlicht has been awarded a three-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide medical and physician assistant students medication-assisted treatment (MAT) training.

Despite it being a successful method to treat opioid use disorders, Steinlicht said there are few MAT providers in the state right now. MAT is a form of addiction treatment that involves using highly regulated drugs and counseling to treat patients. In order for someone to prescribe the MAT drugs, they must go through the training and receive a special waiver from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

“Without these additional providers, we can’t adequately address the needs of South Dakotans struggling with addiction and help them with their recovery,” said Steinlicht. “Since over 200 students will be trained over the grant’s three-year period, this grant helps to fill that workforce shortage and give South Dakotans access to the care they need.”

Typically, MAT training is lecture based, but Steinlicht said students at USD will be able to interact with a standardized patient to help simulate a real scenario.

“Our goal with changing up the format is to get students comfortable with having difficult conversations about addiction while also giving them experience simulating prescribing MAT,” Steinlicht said. “We will also offer a shadowing experience to interested students after they have completed the training where they can follow current MAT providers and observe its use in a clinical setting.”

SAMHSA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was established in 1992 to make substance use and mental disorder information, services and research more accessible. 


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News