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

About Us

There is a critical need to train military health professionals to conduct alcohol screening and brief intervention that embraces the unique culture and needs of military personnel and their families as well as military healthcare settings and health care delivery. Building on the experience gained from the Brief Intervention Group (or BIG) Initiative, NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC) was awarded several grants to create online, highly interactive training systems that meet the unique needs of military health professionals who are unfamiliar with the most effective techniques for screening and treating alcohol problems of military personnel. The training systems were designed to mesh with the Department of Defense (DoD) Army Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (ASBI) program and healthcare provided in patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) and other settings serving military and their families.

 

With funding from the Henry Jackson Foundation, NORC partnered with MedRespond and Peer Assistance Services to work with the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury to develop a SBIRT training system using artificial intelligence and natural language processing and training of trainers and direct training guides for military health professionals delivering primary care, substance use, and behavioral health services in PCMH. NORC supported a multi-site evaluation of the implementation of the training system and SBIRT services in 91 military health clinics as part of broader program dissemination efforts across the military’s PCMHs.

Most recently with funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), NORC partnered with Kognito to create the Online Military Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (MASBIRT) Training System geared towards the unique culture and needs of active-duty service members, veterans, and their families, as well as military healthcare settings and delivery systems. The MASBIRT Training System is an online, highly interactive virtual patient simulation that provides behavioral health and medical professionals serving military personnel and their families with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to:

  • Routinely screen military personnel and family members for risky alcohol use;

  • Provide Brief Negotiated Interview (BNI) using Motivational Interviewing (MI) skills for those who screen positive to help them modify risky behavior; and

  • Facilitate linkages to specialized treatment for patients with complex clinical conditions.

This virtual patient/client simulation training system is designed to increase military health professionals’ rates of screening, brief intervention, and referral and to provide these professionals with the screening tools and resources they need. As part of this effort, NORC conducted a randomized control trial with 60 medical and behavioral health professionals to assess the impact of clinical training on learner outcomes such as knowledge, attitudes, readiness and confidence (self-efficacy), competence and skills.

Previous Military SBIRT Projects

Adaptation of Health Professional Simulation Training for the Military

NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC) was awarded a grant to develop a training system that meshes with the DOD/Army Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (ASBI) program that was implemented in 91 military health clinics worldwide. NORC, working in close collaboration with MedRespond, a technology company, and Peer Assistance Services, a behavioral health provider organization, adapted our existing online substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) training system to meet the unique needs of military health professionals who are unfamiliar with the most effective techniques for screening and treating alcohol problems of military personnel.

Military Alcohol SBIRT

Funded by the Henry Jackson Foundation, NORC worked in collaboration with the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, Department of Army, and MedRespond, a technology company, to develop a SBIRT training system using artificial intelligence and natural language processing and training of trainers and direct training guides for military health professionals delivering primary care, substance use, and behavioral health services in patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) serving military personnel and their families. NORC supported a multi-site evaluation of the implementation of SBIRT services as part of broader program dissemination efforts across the military’s PCMHs.

Online Military SBIRT Training Program

In partnership with Kognito, NORC developed and tested an online training simulation funded by The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), as part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The project focused on encouraging the adoption of alcohol SBIRT by behavioral health and medical professionals. The training was geared towards the unique culture and needs of active-duty service members, veterans, and their families, as well as military healthcare settings and delivery systems. A randomized control trial with 60 medical and behavioral health professionals was conducted to assess the impact of clinical training on learner outcomes such as knowledge, attitudes, readiness and confidence (self-efficacy), competence and skills.

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.

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Tracy McPherson, PhD

Principal Research Scientist

Public Health, NORC at the University of Chicago

Meet The Team
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