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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Care - 3 CME Credits

Learn evidence-based practices and expert-curated guidelines

Start Date: May 31, 2019
Duration: ~ 1 hour
Price: $149

Course Description

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has become an increasingly prevalent and costly condition affecting infants and families across the United States. In fact, an infant is born with NAS every 15 minutes in the US. In this course, you will learn how to assess and treat NAS following evidence-based practices and expert-curated guidelines. Specifically, you will gain a better understanding of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, toxicology (including drug-drug interactions), and assessment of severity of NAS. Finally, the pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions for NAS will be discussed.

This course is intended for primary care physicians and other specialists, physician assistants, nurses, and nurse practitioners.

What You'll Learn

  • Describe the complex Finnegan Scoring system and its 21 components
  • Identify the need for institutional validation of scoring systems and minimal inter-operative variability for achieving consistency of assessment
  • Discuss how to perform a Finnegan assessment and determine treatment protocols
  • Examine the epidemiology and pathophysiology of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
  • Recognize the clinical phenomenon of NAS
  • Examine pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions for treatment of NAS

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Leslie S. Kerzner, MD

Leslie S. Kerzner, MD Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Associate Director, Special Care Nursery and Co-Director, Newborn Developmental Follow-up Program, Massachusetts General Hospital

Jonathan M. Davis, MD

Jonathan M. Davis, MD Chief, Division of Newborn Medicine; Neonatologist; Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine;

Jeffrey S. Shenberger MD

Jeffrey S. Shenberger MD Professor of Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate; Chief of Neonatology, Vice Chair of Research, Wake Forest School of Medicine


Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Care is organized as follows:

Precourse Information:
Accreditation and AMA Credit Designation
Disclosure Statement
How to Take This Course
Grading and Certificates

Chapter 1: Epidemiology and Pathophysiology

Chapter 2: Clinical Presentations

Chapter 3: Toxicology

Chapter 4: Assessing NAS

Chapter 5: Pharmacologic and Nonpharmacologic Interventions

CME Certificate
CME Posttest
Course Evaluation



The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


The Harvard Medical School designates this enduring material for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Disclosure Policy

Harvard Medical School has long held the standard that its continuing medical education courses be free of commercial bias.

In accord with the disclosure policy of the Medical School as well as standards set forth by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), course planners, speakers, and content reviewers have been asked to disclose any relevant relationship they, or their spouse or partner, have to companies producing, marketing, re-selling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. In addition, faculty have been asked to list any off-label uses of pharmaceuticals and/or devices for investigational or non-FDA approved purposes that they plan to discuss.

Such disclosure is not intended to suggest or condone bias in any presentation, but is elicited to provide the course director and participants with information that might be of potential importance to their evaluation of a given presentation.

Disclosure Statement

All individuals including course directors, planners, reviewers, faculty, staff, etc., who are in a position to control the content of this educational activity have, on behalf of themselves and their spouse or partner, reported no financial relationships related to the content of this activity.

Foundation and Nonprofit Support

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN271201700065C.


Leslie S. Kerzner, MD is the associate medical director of the Special Care Nursery at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is the director of the Newborn Developmental Follow-up Clinic and the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) program at MGH. Dr. Kerzner completed a three-year postgraduate fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at Women and Infants' Hospital at Brown University (1998-2001). She completed a two-year residency in pediatrics and a one-year internship in pediatrics/adult and child psychiatry also at Brown University (1995-1998). She attended medical school at the University of Vermont (1995) and received a B.A. in psychology from Boston University (1988). She is board certified in both General Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Dr. Kerzner is certified in the Neonatal Behavioral Observation system and has been a trainer at the Brazelton Institute at Children's Hospital, Boston. Currently, Dr. Kerzner attends in both the Newborn ICU and Special Care Nurseries at MGH and directs the Newborn Developmental Follow-up Clinic at Yawkey to follow high-risk infant development. Dr. Kerzner directs a multi-disciplinary NAS Working Group to improve the care of families and infants affected by opiate use in pregnancy and NAS. She provides consultation during pregnancy to women who take opiates and has developed protocols for caring for the infants affected by NAS. She runs the quality improvement projects related to NAS in the division, and she represents MGH at the state NeoQic NAS Collaborative and the Vermont Oxford Network national INICQ NAS Collaborative. She sits on the MGH Opioid Task Force and the OB Substance Use Disorder Committee. In 2016, she was appointed to the Advisory Council to Support the Interagency Task Force on Newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome with the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Jonathan M. Davis, MD is vice-chair of Pediatrics and chief of Newborn Medicine at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center and professor of Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine. His research has focused on neonatal drug development, including optimizing approaches to treat neonatal abstinence syndrome. He is currently funded by NIH and FDA to develop better biomarkers and outcome measures for clinical trials and new and existing therapeutics to improve neonatal outcome. Dr. Davis is chair of the Neonatal Advisory Committee in the Office of the Commissioner at FDA and associate director of the Tufts CTSI. He is Co-PI of a recent $8M NIH award to Tufts Medical Center to fund a national clinical trial studying the integration of targeted genomic sequencing into neonatal diagnosis and care.

Jeffrey Shenberger, MD is the chief of Neonatology and the vice-chair of Research at Brenner Children’s Hospital. He is a professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest School of Medicine. In addition, Dr. Shenberger served on the Massachusetts Task Force Advisory Council on NAS, chairing the subsection on newborn care. At Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, the Neonatal Division undertook a QI initiative, changing from morphine to buprenorphine for treating NAS, which resulted in a substantial reduction in length of treatment.

The goals Dr. Shenberger’s research are to improve the consistency and effectiveness of medical treatment of infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and to establish pathways to provide consistent maternal prenatal and postnatal care during recovery with the aim of fostering maternal sobriety, improving neonatal outcomes, and enhancing family intactness and parenting. As an investigator, Dr. Shenberger has helped conduct a multi-center, NIDA-sponsored trial investigating the effectiveness and long-term safety of pharmacologic agents used to treat NAS; partnered in a Massachusetts Department of Health-sponsored program to determine the impact of maternal rooming-in on the severity of NAS, hospital length of stay, and breastfeeding success; and consulted on the development of an NAS app which provides information on the pathophysiology, clinical symptomatology, and treatment of NAS.



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How long will this course take?

This course should take approximately 1 hour to complete. You do not need to complete it all at once. You may come back as often as you like.

How long will this course be available?

This self-paced course will close enrollments one year after its start date.

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What if I want to learn more about this topic?

HMS Continuing Education holds live topic-focused conferences throughout the year. Please see our course catalog for upcoming events.