Alcohol use disorders continue to be a growing problem in the United States. Fifty-three percent of Americans consume alcohol on a regular basis (SAMHSA, 2006). Approximately 6 percent of those users meet the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence (SAMHSA, 2005); 3 percent of the U.S. population. Currently, alcohol use disorders are only covered superficially in many medical schools. Future physicians may lack the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively screen, assess, and intervene with patients with alcohol use disorders. SOLUTION: We propose a suite of Internet based modules to provide education and skills training to medical students on the topic of alcohol abuse and dependence. We will educate medical students on the background, proper assessment, and treatment options for patients with alcohol use disorders. Each module will contain a course developed with a problem-based learning approach. These modules will provide valued skills training in interviewing and assessment utilizing an approach that many medical schools are adapting today. The final product will include six individual modules for medical students. Each module will utilize a clinical case scenario approach, which will include straightforward clinical scenarios involving patients with issues related to alcohol abuse or dependence. The modules will include the following subject areas: 1) the scope of the alcohol abuse and dependence problem, 2) the role of the practicing physician in treatment, 3) proper detection, diagnosis and assessment of alcohol use disorders, 4) psychiatric and other common co-morbidities, 5) pharmacology of alcohol (and treatment options), and 6) how novel treatments are developed and implemented. APPROACH: During the Phase I project period, we will develop one of the six modules and evaluate the module with medical school students. In Phase II, we will evaluate the entire curriculum's effect on attitudes toward substance abuse patients, clinical practice, self-efficacy, and knowledge. A randomized study will compare subjects using the alcohol modules to subjects exposed to no intervention. Clinical practice changes will be measured using interviews with standardized patients. Satisfaction with our product will also be assessed. COMMERCIALIZATION: We will work with medical schools to add the modules to their curriculum. We have already developed relationships with 13 medical schools via other Clinical Tools' products and feel confident that we can create a product that will be purchased by medical schools and individual students. Three of our consultants are also directly involved in medical school curriculum review, and will guide the direction and marketing of the product. BENEFITS: Our finalized product will expand the capabilities of medical students and prepare them for the challenges they will face as practicing physicians. Upon completion of our modules, medical students will be able to effectively interview, assess, and provide proper treatment to patients with alcohol use disorders. The skills learned can also be more broadly applied to the treatment of all patients with substance abuse problems. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-C (11))
Program Officer
Roach, Deidra
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Clinical Tools, Inc.
Chapel Hill
United States
Zip Code
Tanner, T Bradley; Wilhelm, Susan E; Rossie, Karen M et al. (2012) Web-based SBIRT skills training for health professional students and primary care providers. Subst Abus 33:316-20