August 26, 2015
Western Michigan University assistant professor from the specialty program in alcohol and drug abuse in the College of Health in Human Services, Dr. Tiffany Lee, and co-investigators Dr. Stephen E. Craig, associate professor in the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development and Denise Bowen, M.A., PA-C, assistant professor from the physician assistant program in the College of Health and Human Services have been awarded a $526,192 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to conduct a three-year research study related to alcohol screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT).
Their research project entitled, SBIRT Training with Students and Community Organizations in the Health Professions in West Michigan, has a mission to drastically increase the competency of health care providers regarding substance use screening, intervention, and referral to treatment. Over 100 students in the Physician Assistant (PA), Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), and Counseling Psychology (CP) programs at WMU will be provided SBIRT-related didactic and experiential learning activities throughout their two years of studies.
These students will learn how to identify and use empirically based screening tools (e.g., AUDIT and MAST), as well as understand the importance of Motivational Interviewing (MI) and be capable of using methods of MI, such as the Readiness Ruler. The investigators will collect data regarding the competency level and use of SBIRT during the students’ clinical experiences and then again one year after graduation. In addition to the training of graduate students, workshops will be given to hundreds of health care professionals within the community of west Michigan. In an effort to reach professionals around the United States, a 4-hour online SBIRT training will be delivered to 300 medical and mental health professionals within the first year of funding. Systemic transformation will begin with the training activities by increasing the knowledge and skills of hundreds of current and future practitioners, but it will also continue for years to come as a result of the permanent incorporation of the SBIRT Training into the curricula for the PA, CMHC, and CP programs at WMU.