Overview: Lisa Webb, a recent NaRCAD Basic AD Techniques Trainee, joins us to discuss her experiences preparing to conduct 1:1 visits with clinicians to support treatment of substance use disorders.
By: Winnie Ho, Program Coordinator and Aanchal Gupta, Program Coordinator
Tags: Detailing Visits, Substance Use, Training
Winnie: Thank you so much for joining us today to talk about your experiences training to be an academic detailer. Can you start by telling us a little bit more about yourself and your program?
Lisa: I’m a licensed chemical dependency counselor and have been treating substance use disorders (SUD) for about 12 years in the Houston, Texas area. Prior to that, I had some sales experience as well. In November 2020, I was hired as an academic detailer on a Baylor College of Medicine research project entitled “Bringing alcohol and other drug research to primary care.”
Our work has a strong educational focus on evidence-based practices for the treatment of SUD related to alcohol, tobacco, and opioid safety, and how to implement various modalities into primary care treatment settings. I’m one of two detailers on this project. Together, we focus on the greater Houston area and the Rio Grande Valley area in South Texas.
W: The majority of your program’s work started in the middle of the pandemic. Your previous work was patient-facing, and now you’re focused on engaging clinicians to impact patient health outcomes. How has this transition been for you?
L: I have always been an advocate for patients who live with SUD, so becoming an academic detailer was a great way to utilize my background. Between my counseling and sales background, clinical outreach education was a natural fit. I also loved that this was an opportunity to keep learning.
W: At NaRCAD, we appreciate the fact that life-long learning is central to academic detailing, and that it’s a unique part of working in this field. Most recently, you joined our AD Techniques Training. Do you have any reflections on that experience?
L: Our program had already been using NaRCAD resources in our work, so when the opportunity opened up to be trained, we were excited. Detailing is similar to the process of counseling in that you’re screening, assessing, and confronting barriers as they arise. Providing a plan and resources were exactly the kinds of things I’d done in the past with patients, so I felt a moment of “Oh! I know what I’m doing!”
W: I’m not surprised, since you excelled at our training course.
L: The training helped me focus on the process of a visit and on a relationship between two people. It’s an exchange of information; I’m not just educating, I’m also gaining valuable information from the provider.
W: During our trainings, we’re teaching an interactive communication technique and empowering people to feel confident to conduct 1:1 visits. You had the special circumstance of having one of your first field visits shortly after the training. How did it feel to be in the field for the first time?
L: It felt natural and familiar to me, especially after having a lot of practice with my team. The provider I met was very interested and engaged, so it was easy to build rapport. We were able to have a good conversation, and the detailing aid that our team used is comprehensive and user-friendly, which was extremely helpful.
I have several more visits coming up, and I’m taking this time to get more familiar with the detailing aid. I’m trying to find the balance between knowing my information well without memorizing a script because detailing visits are meant to be open conversations. I want to practice listening and asking more open-ended questions to encourage the provider to lead us through parts of the conversation, but also avoiding becoming sidetracked from our goals.
W: We’ve seen more and more people entering the AD field. As someone who has just recently started their AD journey, what advice would you have for newcomers?
L: I’m a believer in the phrase, “don’t re-invent the wheel.” NaRCAD provides so many tools and resources that can be adapted to fit individual programs. It’s also a great way to connect and engage your community of support. Practice has been important, so newcomers should try and practice often, either with colleagues, family, friends, pets – anyone who will listen. My cat hasn’t been a great listener, but my dog has been a little better practice partner.
W: You can always pretend a cat is an exceptionally distracted provider. Practicing is definitely the key to becoming comfortable and ready to face whatever arises from a 1:1 visit.
L: Absolutely. The last piece of advice I’d offer is that it’s important to welcome feedback, as well as to learn how to take it. When providers and peers are brave enough to give you honest feedback on your work, it really is an honor that they care enough to listen and invest in your growth.
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Biography: Lisa A. Webb obtained her BA in Psychology from the University of North Florida and has decades of professional experience ranging from Human Resources, office administration, to proposal planning for a group of Architects. Lisa has worked in the substance use disorder field for the last 12 years as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) in the Greater Houston area. She is passionate about helping people find recovery and advocates for those who struggle to find their voice.
After being laid off in 2020 due to the pandemic, Lisa found her way to the Baylor College of Medicine where she is working on a grant project as an Academic Detailer. This project is focused on bringing alcohol and drug treatment to primary care settings by providing the latest evidence-based treatment modalities.
Lisa has been married to her husband, Alan for 27 years and they have a 16-year-old daughter, Jade. Her hobbies are walking, riding her bike, horseback riding and fellowship with friends and family.
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