Training Services


Pittsburgh SBIRT Foundations Curriculum Online Training:

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an evidence-based practice that is unfamiliar to many, if not most, professionals. This course prepares health professionals to utilize the SBIRT approach to identify and provide early intervention for at-risk substance users and persons with Substance Use Disorders (SUD). It consists of knowledge-building through six modules, and assessment is provided through module quizzes. SBIRT is appropriate for many disciplines, such as physicians and physician assistants, dentists, social workers, counseling psychologists, nurses and nurse practitioners, physical and occupational therapists, and pharmacists.

Module 1: Overview of SBIRT

This module introduces SBIRT as a mode of intervention to produce better health outcomes among the entire patient population. More specifically, the trainee will learn their role in SBIRT and the healthcare settings where it can be implemented, emphasizing what is most relevant to clinical patient care. The learning objectives of this module include:

  • Defining and discussing the development of SBIRT;
  • Recognizing the impact of alcohol and other drug-related problems in the US;
  • Explaining how substance use problems fall along a clinical spectrum;
  • Demonstrating how SBIRT differs from the past approach to addressing substance use; and
  • Describing the clinical impact of SBIRT in a variety of healthcare settings.

Module 2: Overview of Screening

This module introduces the principles of screening and different types of screening tools for alcohol, drugs, and special populations. The skill targets for trainees include being able to assess a patient’s substance use risk using an evidence-based screening instrument and being able to assess a patient’s risk of psychosocial and physical health problems related to his/her substance use. The learning objectives of this module include:

  • Describing the principles of screening in SBIRT;
  • Describing how screening assesses the risk associated with a patient’s substance use;
  • Explaining the ‘standard drink’ limits;
  • Describing the clinical application of validated screening instruments;
  • Comparing and critiquing the most commonly used screening instruments; and
  • Assessing a patient’s substance use risk using an evidence-based screening instrument.

Module 3: Brief Intervention

This module introduces the Brief Intervention (BI) as a brief dialogue that assists patients in recognizing negative consequences of substance use and attempts to motivate positive behavior change. The skill targets for trainees include building rapport with patients, asking permission to discuss patient substance use, applying motivational interviewing (MI) skills, and conducting a BI to identify a specific and realistic plan for behavior change. The learning objectives of this module include:

  • Explaining the clinical benefits and rationale of brief interventions;
  • Describing how MI skills apply to a BI;
  • Defining the components of a BI using the feedback-listening-options (FLO) process; and
  • Explaining how to assess a patient’s readiness, confidence, and importance to change.

Module 4: Referral to Treatment

This module introduces the referral process, which actively assists or links patients to the appropriate level of substance use disorder treatment and/or recovery support. The skill targets for trainees include introducing the need for referral once an at-risk patient is identified and facilitating an effective referral to the correct level of treatment. The learning objectives of this module include:

  • Describing the substance use disorder treatment system;
  • Understanding what recovery means;
  • Explaining similarities and differences between various types of substance use disorder treatment services;
  • Describing how to facilitate a patient’s access to substance use disorder treatment services;
  • Listing the positive impacts of substance use disorder treatment; and
  • Explaining confidentiality requirements related to substance use disorder treatment.

Module 5: Medical & Psychiatric Complications of Commonly Misused Substances

This module introduces the medical and psychiatric health problems that can result from substance misuse. The content provides the trainee with a foundation to engage and educate substance-using patients regarding medical concerns. The learning objectives of this module include:

  • Identifying commonly misused substances;
  • Explaining typical signs and symptoms of intoxication, overdose, and withdrawal;
  • Discussing common medical complications with each substance;
  • Describing the risk associated with different routes of administration; and
  • Recognizing substance induced (SI) psychiatric disorders.

Module 6: Pharmacotherapy for Substance Use Disorders

This module introduces pharmacotherapy as treating substance use disorders with medication to achieve either detoxification, relapse prevention, or chronic maintenance. The content guides the trainee to choose an appropriate alcohol, tobacco, or opioid use disorder medication, which are all approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The learning objectives of this module include:

  • Describing the situational, behavioral, medical, and psychiatric considerations that impact medical decision-making in regard to pharmacotherapy;
  • Identifying the pharmacotherapies available for management and/or treatment of specific substance use disorders;
  • Discussing the risks and benefits of pharmacotherapies approved for treatment of substance use disorders; and
  • Describing the assessment process involved in initiating pharmacotherapy to treat substance use disorders.

Champion Training Network:

Pittsburgh SBIRT offers additional Champion Training for healthcare professionals to become expert trainers and to support SBIRT implementation in clinical practice. Champion Training consists of successful completion of the online Pittsburgh SBIRT online curriculum and a series of in-person skill-building workshops led by PERU (18 hours). A sample agenda for the in-person training is below:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

  • Applying the Systems Transformation Framework to SBIRT
  • Evaluating Your SBIRT Program
  • Training Debrief

The Champion Trainer will participate in a 6-month learning community upon completion of the online and in-person training. During this time, the Champion Trainer will submit monthly Proficiency Checklist self-assessments, submit monthly Training Impact Reports, and participate in monthly calls with PERU (1 hour). These will include role-playing sessions to demonstrate proficiency of SBIRT skills, review of Proficiency Checklists, and review of Training Impact Reports. Training will be evaluated through online module assessments, demonstration of skills using the Clinical SBIRT Proficiency Checklist, survey of attitudes and perceptions, and survey of training satisfaction.

Live Training Workshops:

In-person training workshops are available upon request. These workshops, led by a certified Pittsburgh SBIRT Trainer, offer interactive opportunities for knowledge acquisition, skill building, and assessment. These workshops will use a variety of training modalities including case studies, role play exercises, and an evidence-based Clinical SBIRT Proficiency Checklist.

Special SBIRT Topics:

Additional resources and trainings are available for the following topics:

  • Adolescents
  • Criminal Justince
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family and Friends
  • Geriatrics
  • HIV
  • Homeless
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • Impaired Professionals
  • Injection Drug Users
  • Inpatients
  • Marijuana
  • Mental Health
  • Military and Veterans
  • Psychosocial Treatment

Supplemental Features:

  • Effective Brief Intervention Interactive Virtual Patient Encounter
  • Assessment of Skills with Certificate of Completion
  • Access to an Extensive Resource Library
  • Credits for Continuing Education

Technical Assistance Formats

Pittsburgh SBIRT offers a variety of technical assistance packages including:

  • Protocol Development
  • Electronic Health Record Integration
  • Organizational Health Assessment
  • Evaluation of Clinical SBIRT Services
  • Full SBIRT Implementation

Testimonials of PERU Training

  • “I wanted to initiate SBIRT at Sadler Health Center and after some inquiring I felt the Championship Training with the SBIRT Program through PERU was the best choice. My colleague and I attended the three day training — from the get go we felt very welcomed, valued and important. The staff was knowledgeable, professional, and the training we received was comprehensive, detailed, and tailored to our specific needs. The underlying message of the importance of SBIRT was always represented by their staff, and their ongoing support and direction as we continue to roll SBIRT out is invaluable. I would recommend them to anybody without hesitation!"
  • “Nice clear guidelines for how to apply some basic concepts of SBIRT within a relatively short period of time. Provides a nice foundation that you can build on with your own experiences.”
  • “The power point slides on effects of hazardous use were very useful, and I find myself returning to them (and have even thought of sharing a slide or two with a patient during an appt).”
  • “Practicing motivational interviewing and assessing a patient's readiness to change his or her substance use made me more comfortable and gave me a better framework when asking real patients about their substance use.”
  • “The in-person trainings were helpful, especially when we reviewed cases and did role playing.”
  • “I appreciated the opportunities to practice and grade myself using the self-assessment tools. I envision myself using this intervention often in my future career.”
Last modified: Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 1:15 PM