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Preparing the Workforce to Implement SBIRT through Training, Technical Assistance, and Evaluation

About the Adolescent SBIRT Project

Through funding from Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, NORC at the University of Chicago launched the Adolescent SBIRT Project to:

  • encourage the adoption of adolescent screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) by social work, nursing, and other practitioners,

  • increase the number of practitioners trained to deliver adolescent SBIRT, and

  • support the implementation of adolescent SBIRT throughout communities.

In collaboration with several partners, and a Steering Committee of subject matter experts, educators, practitioners, and professional association representatives, NORC developed the Adolescent SBIRT Curriculum, which brings together the tools that practitioners, educators, field instructors, preceptors, and students need to:

  • screen adolescents for alcohol and other drug use using validated tools;

  • deliver effective brief interventions using motivational interviewing skills;

  • link adolescents to medical, behavioral or specialty treatment services as needed;

  • work with other health professionals in ongoing care coordination; and

  • provide follow-up and recovery supports to adolescents.

Learn More about the Project
A Cohort of Committed Partners Working for Youth

Beginning in 2014, with funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, NORC at the University of Chicago partnered with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Center for Clinical Social Work (CCSW), the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Institute for Research, Education, and Training in Addictions (IRETA), 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.

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Dr. McPherson has been developing, implementing, and evaluating prevention/early intervention programs in the areas of substance use, mental health, and chronic conditions for over 20 years with funding from NIH, SAMHSA, AHRQ, CDC, ASPE, NHTSA, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and other private organizations. She is an expert in behavioral health screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) with a passion for working in medical, behavioral, and workplace settings to translate research into practice and evaluate the impact of practice change on program and client/patient outcomes. Her work includes an expanded, integrated model of SBIRT+Suicide Care to prepare the workforce to screen and intervene for risk of suicide, depression, and other mental health concerns that often co-occur with substance use. Dr. McPherson has also developed and evaluated a number of health professional training curriculum and patient/client-facing intervention programs, including those using simulation technology with emotionally-responsive virtual humans, to prepare the workforce to address substance use and mental health. Through national initiatives and learning communities, more than 100,000 health professionals and students have been trained to implement evidence-based practices. She has co-authored numerous publications and presented extensively on adolescent and adult substance use prevention/early intervention. Dr. McPherson holds a Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology from The George Washington University.

Tracy McPherson headshot
Tracy McPherson, PhD

Principal Research Scientist

Public Health, NORC at the University of Chicago

Meet The Team
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