An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Western Michigan University received a $526,000 grant to improve substance use screening and boost intervention and referral services. The grant, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), was awarded to Dr. Tiffany Lee, associate professor in the WMU Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Dr. Stephen E. Craig, professor of counselor education and counseling psychology, and Denise Bowen, associate professor in the physician assistant department.  The grant activities concluded in September 2018.


Three initiatives of The SBIRT GRANT:

  • Train both counseling and physician assistant students
    As part of the physician assistant, clinical mental health counseling, and counseling psychology graduate program curricula, more than 100 students learned about substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral techniques. Additionally, the students took part in a videotaped role play with standardized patients and had a follow up feedback session related to their SBIRT proficiency demonstrated in the role play. Students were taught how to use empirically supported screening tools and employed methods of motivational interviewing to more effectively screen and refer patients and clients to services.
  • Community outreach
    Free workshops on substance use screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment—SBIRT—were provided to hundreds of health care professionals in the community working at a variety of agencies and organizations. For example, some of the trainings took place at the Kalamazoo Department of Human Services, Kalamazoo Community Mental Health, WMU Counseling Center, and the Family Health Center. The investigators collected data using pre- and post-tests, as well as a 30-day follow-up survey. 
  • Online training
    A four-hour online training program extended SBIRT education to professionals nationwide. This previous training provided participants with continuing education credits upon completion of the training, and the program was free to those who submitted the pre- and post-test surveys.