Excessive alcohol consumption is a public health concern that causes approximately 80,000 deaths each year in the United States and costs the economy an estimated $223.5 billion in annual medical, social, and productivity losses. Because the large majority (79%) of adults with alcohol disorders is employed and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are resources in 75% of U.S. businesses, EAPs are uniquely positioned to address this public health concern. Over the last 10 years, one of the Co-Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators on this proposal has sought to change this by facilitating the creation of the EAP Brief Intervention Group (BIG) Initiative. The BIG initiative brings together the major EAP corporate leaders, the EAP clinical professional associations, and others for the express purpose of making alcohol screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) the routine practice across the EAP industry. There is an extensive body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of alcohol SBIRT. In collaboration with BIG initiative organizations and EAP professional associations, we propose to develop and evaluate the SBIRT Training &Support Tool, which combines online training in SBIRT, including use of motivational interviewing techniques, with interactive mobile/web alcohol screening and intervention tools to guide EAP and behavioral health practitioners'use of SBIRT. Content for alcohol SBIRT will be derived from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse's evidence-based materials. The SBIRT Training component will provide practitioners with the skills, knowledge, motivation, and self-efficacy to: (a) screen their clients for unhealthy alcohol use with validated screening tools;(b) provide brief, motivational interviewing-informed intervention;and (c) make appropriate referrals. In Phase 2 the training program will (a) further develop the Phase 1 content and (b) expand the curriculum to include additional validated alcohol screening tools. In addition, the SBIRT Support Tool component will be developed as a web/mobile interface for practitioners to use interactive screening and brief intervention forms with (a) prompts for validated questions in the screening and intervention;(b) motivational interviewing-informed dialogue suggestions;(c) online resources (i.e., standard drink list;importance, confidence rulers);and (d) alcohol education and referral information. This Phase 2 product will be evaluated in a randomized controlled trial with 332 EAP practitioners. In addition, a 20% random sample of participants in each experimental group will participate in simulated case- study phone counseling sessions, which will be used to assess participants'ability to implement SBIRT skills. Our BIG Initiative partners see the critical need for this product and are committed to implementing alcohol SBIRT in their EAPs and allied organizations. We intend to commercialize the SBIRT Training &Support Tool as a key component of ORCAS'mHealth platform, with an emphasis on the EAP market and EAP affiliated behavioral health organizations.

Public Health Relevance

Excessive alcohol consumption is a significant public health concern that costs the U.S. economy $223 billion annually. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are uniquely positioned to address this public health concern through the screening of employees for problem alcohol use and the delivery of a brief intervention. This project will develop and evaluate an SBIRT Training &Support Tool, which combines online training in SBIRT, including use of motivational interviewing techniques, with interactive mobile/web alcohol screening tools to guide EAP practitioners'use of SBIRT with individual clients.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HDM-W (10))
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Ruffin, Beverly
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Oregon Center for Applied Science, Inc.
United States
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