SSW's Shauna Acquavita, PhD, Leads $900,000 Grant
via UC HealthNews
The University of Cincinnati (UC) School of Social Work in the College of Allied Health Sciences has received a federal grant for $916, 323 to design and implement a program titled "Interprofessional Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT) Training for Health Professions.”
The project, which takes place over a three-year period, will incorporate a substance abuse screening course into the school’s curriculum and will include training 160 medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work students, 40 preceptors/field instructors, and 90 health professionals on substance abuse screening and treatment options.
"If you can intervene early then you can make a big difference in a person’s life,” says Shauna Acquavita, PhD, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work who is spearheading the design and implementation of the interdisciplinary course.
The grant comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.
Acquavita says that oftentimes patients won’t be seen for substance abuse until they are in their 40s and the negative impact has already occurred, like a job loss or arrest. This course, she says, "is for doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists … really anyone who interacts with patients and has the opportunity to ask questions that might head substance abuse off at the path, before a person faces significant consequences.”
While it is not required for social workers or other health professionals to have specific substance abuse training, Acquavita says she feels the training is necessary across disciplines given the rise of substance abuse in U.S. society. According to recent data, only one in 10 Americans with a substance abuse disorder receives treatment.
Although the course will remain an elective, student training will take place in three steps: education online that includes interaction with an avatar, then standardized patients, then with real patients in clinical rotations.
The focus, Acquavita says, will be on alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs.
After project has ended, SBIRT training will continue to be offered to health professions students annually and UC will provide an online SBIRT Continuing Education Course for UC Medical Center staff.
Co-investigators on the grant include Ruth Anne Van Loon, PhD, College of Allied Health Sciences, Bonnie Brehm, PhD, College of Nursing, Tiffiny Diers, MD, College of Medicine, and Jane Pruemer, PharmD, James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy.