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College of Health Sciences Faculty to Participate in SBIRT Learning Collaborative

Denise Seigart, chair of the undergraduate nursing program and Master of Nursing and Populations program in the School of Nursing, and Max Veltman, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, along with other pediatrics and community health faculty, will be participating in the Hilton Adolescent Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) learning collaborative.

SBIRT is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for people with risky and dependent alcohol use, treatment and ongoing recovery supports. Screening quickly assesses for the presence of risky substance use, follows positive screens with further assessment of problem use, and identifies the appropriate level of treatment. Brief intervention focuses on increasing insight and awareness regarding substance use and motivation toward behavioral change. Referral to treatment provides those identified as needing more extensive treatment with access to medications, primary care counseling or specialty care as needed by the patient. Research has shown the SBIRT process works well with adults and that it is a highly promising approach for working with younger people. Despite its promise, the approach is not yet widely taught in nursing and social work programs.

The independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago partnered with the Council on Social Work Education, the Center for Clinical Social Work, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and Kognito, a leader in immersive learning experiences using virtual humans. They are engaging nursing and social work schools, and their accrediting bodies, in a learning collaborative to develop and evaluate interactive, competency-based substance use SBIRT curriculum. The project is funded by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and is focused on encouraging the adoption of SBIRT by social work and nursing educators. The learning collaborative will work to infuse this curriculum in general survey, clinical, behavioral health, and maternal and child health coursework – not just specialty courses – in undergraduate and graduate social work and nursing schools.

The SBIRT learning collaborative consists of a wide variety of nursing and social work schools across the US. The purpose is to engage faculty to develop and evaluate interactive, competency-based substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment curriculum. The participation in the learning collaborative is imperative to creating an effective and comprehensive curriculum that will be beneficial to integrating adolescent substance abuse screening, interventions and treatment into schools of social work and nursing.

The School of Nursing has the opportunity to network with other participating schools and to receive up to $10,000 to pilot the adolescent SBIRT online curriculum in existing undergraduate and graduate curricula. Through this grant, schools will receive technical assistance to aid in the implementation process and participate in evaluation.

Considerable evidence demonstrates the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of alcohol SBIRT for young adults and adults 15-19 and its effectiveness for reducing illicit or prescription drug use is promising. This project offers a scientifically-based approach based on the needs of future health professionals who are graduating into an ever-changing healthcare landscape. The team is comprised of the pre-eminent adolescent SBIRT researchers and educators who bridge the science of evidence-based practices, the practicalities of clinical practice across a wide range of field settings, and the capabilities of pre-professional training programs to infuse substance use education where it can most benefit future practitioners.