Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


As substance use disorders (SUDs) continue to rise in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, occupational therapy practitioners are in a unique position to help individuals seek immediate screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment upon first entry in a healthcare setting. Occupational therapy practitioners have helped individuals overcome SUDs since almost the beginning of the profession, however, there is a paucity of literature on entry-level practitioners’ preparedness for such work. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an entry-level occupational therapy curriculum module on Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), a universal public health approach by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services taught to occupational therapy students. Student participants were provided with classroom education, online learning materials, an interactive case study, an interprofessional education event, and debriefing with community members in recovery. These educational experiences demonstrated significant increases in pre-and post-score means of participants’ knowledge, confidence, competence, attitudes on SUDs, and readiness for conducting an SBIRT protocol. This study aims to illustrate how SBIRT educational practices can empower future practitioners to be effective agents of change in addressing substance use disorders in an evolving healthcare landscape.


Jill Brown, PhD, MSOT, OTRL is an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, for a MSOT Program at Saginaw Valley State University. Dr. Brown has clinical practice experience in physical and psychosocial practice and has contributed to grant funded programs. She is passionate about infusing trauma-informed principles into practice, community practice, and education of her students.

Kathleen Schachman, PhD, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FIAAN, FAANP, the H.R. Wickes Endowed Professor of Nursing at Saginaw Valley State University, holds national certification as a nurse practitioner in the specialties of family, pediatric, and psychiatric mental health. She is a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the International Academy of Addictions Nursing.

Meghan Baruth, PhD is a behavioral scientist who is a Professor of Health Science at Saginaw Valley State University. She has led a number of community-based behavioral interventions focused on improving physical activity and dietary behaviors in diverse populations. She is also the evaluator on a number of large-scale grants.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.