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Interprofessional Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT) Training for Health Professions

‌The UC SBIRT Program is a three year federally funded grant from Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to develop and provide inter-professional training to both students and professionals. 


The program is designed to reduce morbidity and mortality of alcohol and other drug use through early intervention and the integration of medical and behavioral health approaches.  The purpose of this program is to integrate an interdisciplinary approach to SBIRT training into the medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work curriculum and field in order to promote SBIRT. The long-term goal is to develop a highly-trained cadre of health professionals to screen, provide brief interventions, and make referrals to substance abuse treatment to improve rates of recovery.

For more information about the award check out the 09/03/15 healthNEWS article “School of Social Work's Shauna Acquavita, PhD, Leads $900,000 Grant

Co-investigators/Council of Directors:

  • Ruth Anne Van Loon, PhD, College of Allied Health Sciences,
  • Bonnie Brehm, PhD, College of Nursing,
  • Tiffiny Diers, MD, College of Medicine,
  • Karrisa Kim, PharmD, James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy
  • Amy Costanzo, MSN, RN-BC, UCHealth, University of Cincinnati Medical Centers
  • Buffy Dingess, MSW, Shelterhouse
  • Mary Kaye Scaramucci, RDH, MS, UC Blue Ash College, Dental Hygiene Department
  • Beth Monnin, RDH, MSEd, UC Blue Ash College, Dental Hygiene Department

Past Contributors to the program:

  • Jane Pruemer, PharmD, James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy - Retired 12/16
  • Maria Guido, PharmD, BCPSUCHealth, University of Cincinnati Medical Center - Relinquished Post 10/16
  • Brittany Woolf, PharmD BCPSUCHealth, University of Cincinnati Medical Centers​


What is SBIRT?

SBIRT uses a public health approach of universal screening for substance use. Screening can immediately rule out non-problem users and easily identify those who are at risk. SBIRT provides the opportunity to intervene before more serious consequences of substance misuse occur. It also may highlight how the use of substances relates to other challenges in the individual’s life.

SCREENING: universal screening to assess everyone for level of risk regarding substance use, including tobacco, alcohol, prescription medication and illicit drugs, with validated screening tools.

BRIEF INTERVENTION: motivational and awareness raising brief intervention for those who screen as at risk substance users. Research shows that brief interventions are most effective among persons with less severe problems: low and moderate risk sub-stance users.

REFERRAL to TREATMENT: referral to specialty care for those screening as high risk substance users in need of further evaluation and treatment. 

Read the SAMHSA whitepaper on SBIRT or visit SAMHSA's SBIRT resource page.

Why Is SBIRT Important?

  • Unhealthy and unsafe alcohol and drug use are major preventable public health problems resulting in more than 100,000 deaths each year.
  • The costs to society are more than $600 billion annually.
  • Effects of unhealthy and unsafe alcohol and drug use have far-reaching implications for the individual, family, workplace, community, and the health care system.

SBIRT Training      

As part of the three year SAMHSA grant, UC is training student preceptors/field instructors on the SBIRT process along with community health professionals in the Cincinnati area. Training formats and length are configured to best meet the needs of the requesting site and/or group of professionals. Social Work CEU’s are currently available for the trainings with additional professional credits being added in the future. For more information about SBIRT training opportunities, please contact Dr. Shauna Acquavita at 513.556.4619 or

Community Partnerships

Hamilton County Mental Health Recovery Services Board
The local agency responsible for planning, funding, and evaluating the effectiveness of community mental health services and alcohol and drug addiction services. 

Prevention First
A local agency that promotes drug-free environments for youth through coalition members such as hospitals, schools and youth agencies.

UC Health
University of Cincinnati Medical Center
Tobacco Cessation Clinic

Primarily an emergency shelter for homeless individuals in Greater Cincinnati with two locations.   

FreeStore Foodbank, Inc. 
Connecting those in need to services that create stability, they work to determine the root causes of hunger and poverty and build hope in our community

Crossroad Heath Center
Crossroad is a federally qualified health center, and provides high-quality medical care for children and adults at their five locations. They offer care for illnesses, routine checkups, immunizations, preventive care and more.

Additional Resources

SAMHSA whitepaper on SBIRT (pdf)

SAMHSA's SBIRT resource page

SBIRT Module for Pregnant Women  
An interactive e-learning module for health care providers who work with pregnant women.  It includes PowerPoint slides, a glossary of terms, plus videos and other resources. The module also has scenarios with different options for users to choose, informing learners if they’ve made the right choice.  For additional information about the module go to:

SBIRT and Appalachia

An innovative online module for health care providers focusing on the application of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) within the Appalachian population. The module contains 1.5 hours of learning content and includes an interactive case scenario, links to videos, and other resources that identify the prevalence of use among the Appalachian population while highlighting the components of the SBIRT. The module can be accessed free of charge at
Funded by SAMHSA Grant: TI025942



Contact Us

School of Social Work
1515 French Hall
PO Box 210108
Cincinnati OH 45221-0108
Phone: 513-556-4615
Fax: 513-556-2077


Get Connected!

Join the UC SBIRT listserv to remain up-to-date on national and local SBIRT news, initiatives, and opportunities. To join, please send an email to UCSBIRT@LISTSERV.UC.EDU with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. 

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