SBIRT is a 5-year $17.5 million dollar Targeted Capacity Expansion Grant funded by the U.S. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to expand treatment capacity. Seven grant recipients across the nation are testing models in the health care setting. The objective of InSight, the Texas-based SBIRT project, is to transfer research-based methods for screening and brief intervention of alcohol and drug problems among patients who present for health care in general hospital settings. This project is located in eight Harris County Hospital District locations, including Ben Taub General Hospital (emergency department and other units), four community clinics, and three school-based clinics. The project utilizes general healthcare staff and a specially-trained multidisciplinary SBIRT team to screen and serve over 44,000 patients. The aim is to encourage primary care generalists to screen for substance abuse when presented with early symptoms, to provide interventions with problem drinkers by providing brief advice and intervention sessions with InSight Specialists addressing drinking problems, and to refer substance abusers to treatment.
As Principal Investigator of InSight’s training component, Dr. Velasquez and her Health Behavior Research and Training (HBRT) team have developed a comprehensive standardized instruction and certification program on the use of Motivational Interviewing by healthcare practitioners as a substance abuse intervention strategy. Components include: 1) a comprehensive training and continuing education curriculum for InSight Specialists; 2) Specialist’s training manual to facilitate the training of therapists; 3) comprehensive training and “certification” plan for all InSight Specialists; and 4) “Training for Trainers” component to train proficient InSight Specialists to serve as on-site role models for other Specialists.