Adolescent SBIRT

Reducing Substance Use by Young People

Integrating Adolescent SBIRT Throughout Social Work & Nursing Education

NORC at the University of Chicago has partnered with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Center for Clinical Social Work (CCSW), the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), and Kognito to engage nursing and social work schools, and their accrediting bodies, in a learning collaborative to develop and evaluate interactive, competency-based substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) curriculum.

This 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 project involves multiple steps to develop a model curriculum that will be used by faculty and students:

  • Engage the leading national associations and accrediting organizations for social work and nursing schools, CSWE and AACN, which will work with the team’s experts and with leading schools to develop, test and disseminate adolescent SBIRT curricula.

  • Create a learning collaborative process by leveraging a pre-existing consortium of 18 nursing schools and 6 social work schools.

  • Engage faculty in social work and nursing schools across the U.S. to infuse adolescent SBIRT training into undergraduate and graduate education.

  • Recruit faculty, field supervisors and students to share knowledge, give feedback and provide guidance to ensure that the curriculum developed is meaningful and comprehensive.

  • Offer implementation grants of up to $10,000 to 30 schools each of social work and of nursing to support faculty’s implementation and evaluation of the adolescent SBIRT as part of their existing undergraduate and graduate level curricula

  • Partner with Kognito, a leader in immersive learning experiences using virtual humans, to create a state-of-the-art online, interactive adolescent SBIRT training technology platform. Learn more about Kognito here.

  • Develop the adolescent SBIRT curricula with a suite of practical, engaging, easily accessible, clinically relevant training modules that can be offered by the schools at no cost to their students and that will not disrupt delivery of core educational curriculums.

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.


What is SBIRT?

SBIRT is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons 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.

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