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SBIRT Training and Implementation

SBIRT Training and Implementation

Optimizing SUD Care By Conducting SBIRT Approach

This is a comprehensive training for primary care practices currently providing the behavioral medical integration model called collaborative care. This training will expand the integration of depression and anxiety to include alcohol and substance use screening addressing risk with intervention. When dependency is of concern, the care manager will assist the provider with care coordination and monitoring the impact of the treatment plan.

During this ten part live training series, the learners will gain knowledge and skills to effectively implement the SBIRT process in a multidisciplinary setting that is coordinated, safe, and patient-centered.  

Introduction to SBIRT

Intended Audience: Providers, care managers, administration, and other staff

  1. Delineate the process of alcohol and drug screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT)
  2. Explain the rationale for delivering SBIRT to all adults and adolescents in primary care settings
  3. Enumerate key quality metrics for an SBIRT program
  4. Describe lessons learned from previous efforts how to optimize SBIRT delivery in primary care settings

Intended Audience for Sessions 1-10:Care Managers

Training Session #1

  1. Describe the substance use continuum (abstinence, low-risk use, high-risk use, problem use, and dependence) and identify patients’ categories of use
  2. Explain the purpose of alcohol/drug screening
  3. Enumerate how to administer and score common alcohol/drug screens and interpret results for patients
  4. Delineate how to maximize patient participation in alcohol/drug screening

Training Session #2

  1. Explain the purpose of brief alcohol/drug assessment
  2. Enumerate how to administer and score common alcohol/drug assessment questionnaires and interpret results for patients
  3. Delineate how to maximize patient participation in brief alcohol/drug assessments

Training Session #3

  1. Explain some basic principles of motivational interviewing
  2. Describe and perform interventions to help abstinent adults remain abstinent
  3. Describe and perform interventions to help abstinent adolescents remain abstinent

Training Session #4

  1. Describe brief interventions for high-risk use and problem-use using the FERNSS approach (Feedback, Education, Recommendation, Negotiation, Secure concrete agreement, Set follow-up) and basic principles of motivational interviewing
  2. Explain and demonstrate how to help patients design personalized behavior change plans (behavior change planning)
  3. Conduct brief interventions for high-risk use and problem use, scoring satisfactorily on a skills checklist

Training Session #5

  1. Discuss the different kinds of evidence-based treatment for moderate to severe substance use disorders
  2. Delineate the mechanisms of action and most important adverse effects of pharmacotherapies for alcohol and opioid use disorders
  3. Describe how to maximize the effectiveness of referrals for patients with moderate to severe substance use disorders, and conduct such referrals
  4. Describe how patients who decline referrals can be managed in primary care settings (behavior change planning and pharmacotherapy), and conduct such management (behavior change planning and referral to primary care providers for pharmacotherapy)
  5. Conduct referrals and initiate primary care-based management for patients who decline referrals, scoring satisfactorily on a skills checklist

Training Sessions #6 and #7

Able to conduct an initial SBIRT session, scoring satisfactorily on a skills checklist.

Training Session #8

  1. Describe how to conduct follow-up sessions when patients are:
    – Adhering to their change plan and reducing their substance use as planned
    – Adhering to their change plan and not reducing their substance use as planned
    – Not adhering to their change plan and not reducing their substance use as planned
  2. Conduct follow-up sessions, scoring satisfactorily on a skills checklist

Training Sessions #9 & 10 Standardized Patient Experiences

Able to conduct initial and follow-up SBIRT sessions, scoring satisfactorily on skills checklists.


If you are interested in receiving more information about this training, please contact Sue Vos at


This course is intended for care teams seeking to implement an approach to address substance use and alcohol use disorders through the Screening, Brief Interventions, and the Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) process.


Richard Brown, MD, MPH

Retired Full Professor with Tenure, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. He educated more than 2,000 UW health professions and participated in a program to evaluate the effectiveness of SBIRT in eight southeastern Wisconsin high schools. He served as Clinical Director for the Wisconsin Initiative to Promote Healthy Lifestyles (WIPHL) helping 40 general healthcare settings provide over 110,000 alcohol and drug screens and 25,000 interventions and elicit substantial declines in risky and problem drinking, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and healthcare costs. Dr. Brown was president of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) and a founding director of Project MAINSTREAM, a federally funded program that enhanced substance abuse education for over 10,000 trainees. After leaving the UW in 2017, Dr. Brown served as a senior medical director and director of population health management for ConcertoHealth, which improved outcomes and reduced healthcare costs for complex, dual-eligible and Medicare Advantage patients.

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Laura Saunders, MSSW

Laura Saunders is the Wisconsin State Project Manager for the Great Lakes Addiction, Mental Health, and Prevention Technology Transfer Centers. Since 2001, Laura has provided SBIRT and Motivational Interviewing training to physicians, nurses, medical students, psychologists, specialty addiction treatment providers, social workers, physical therapists, health educators, and staff who work in correctional settings. She has provided feedback and coaching to hundreds of social workers, correctional staff, and other human service providers who are interested in using evidence-based practices with fidelity. Laura joined the international group of Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) in 2006 (Sophia, Bulgaria) and is an active member of the Wisconsin MINT group.

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Continuing Education Credits

Social Workers

This course is approved by the NASW-Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative.

Course approval #:030123-01

Contact Hours: Up to 31.5

Full continuing education credits are achieved by the successful participation and completion of training courses, pre and post-tests, and required evaluations. Training continuing education certificates will be issued by Mi-CCSI after the attendee completes the associated evaluation. Additional details and instructions will be provided during the training. Submit continuing education credit questions to Sue Vos at

Training Materials & Course Preparation

For those participating in the training, click on the following link to view all course materials including presentations, handouts, and other resources:  CLICK HERE


If you have any questions, contact Sue Vos at


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Training Materials

If you have already registered for this training, please refer click on the following to view training presentations, handouts and other resources: CLICK HERE.