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Medical professionals group

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

About Us

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.

NORC has worked closely with technical experts and committees to support implementation and evaluation of SBIRT in hospital settings including facilitating senior advisory panels, system and operation committees, clinical improvement committees, and evaluation and research committees.

Eric Goplerud
Eric Goplerud, PhD

Vice President, Senior Fellow

Public Health, NORC at the University of Chicago

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Tracy McPherson, PhD

Principal Research Scientist

Public Health, NORC at the University of Chicago

Meet The Project Leads

Dr. Eric Goplerud and Dr. Tracy McPherson are recognized leaders through their work helping with businesses, EAPs, health plans, hospitals and community health centers to identify and treat people with alcohol and other substance use problems. Since 2002, Dr. Goplerud and his group at NORC (now completely relocated to NORC at the University of Chicago) have been trusted resources of businesses and business groups, helping them to increase employer expectations that health plans and clinicians would identify and treat employees with substance use problems. Over a two year period, health plans reporting employer coalitions we worked with increased their substance use identification rates by 69%. 

We created strong partnerships with clinicians such as Dr. Larry Gentillelo and advocates which led to changes in state health insurance laws in 17 states to make substance use SBI in hospital emergency services feasible.  With Dr. Gentillelo, we led the successful effort to secure AMA approval of SBI as a recognized medical procedure, creating new billing codes that CMS estimated could produce as much as $500 million in new Federal substance use treatment funding in 2009.  For the last four years, we pioneered workplace SBIRT programs, successfully piloting routine alcohol SBIRT in 3 large EAPs.  

Building on these successes, we secured government and EAP industry financial support for a campaign, the EAP BIG Initiative, and in 2012, we became part of the National SBIRT-ATTC, a SAMHSA-funded center that provides information on the latest research-based best practices related to SBIRT and coordinates national efforts to advance SBIRT.  As the National SBIRT-ATTC, we partnered with the Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions (IRETA) to offer an SBIRT Suite of Services for an interdisciplinary audience.

We have already developed an extensive online hospital SBIRT resource center and have organized and managed SBIRT practice change trainings impacting hundreds of medical and workplace programs. Dr. Goplerud co-chairs the JCAHO technical advisory panel that developed the SBIRT performance measures and advises the Joint Commission on implementation of SBIRT measures. He is also on the CMS/Medicare performance measure advisory panel for inpatient psychiatric hospitals and the NQF behavioral health measures advisory panel. Dr. Goplerud recently joined NORC as Senior VP, directing the Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Criminal Justice Studies. 

Founded in 1941, the NORC is a public policy and social research organization affiliated with the University of Chicago. Deeply experienced in providing technical assistance in support of government and foundation-sponsored initiatives, NORC led the creation of the American Hospital Association’s Quality Center. The Quality Center, a forum for practice-focused learning, is a repository of action-oriented tools to help hospital executives and clinicians improve hospital quality and patient safety as well as plan and implement hospital quality improvement activities. For Federal agencies, NORC produces web-based seminars on health IT research that provide continuing education credits for doctors and nurses. 

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