SSW Receives $903,500 Training Grant

October 28, 2015


The School of Social Work will be training students to work with clients coping with substance abuse

Simmons School of Social Work has been awarded a SBIRT Health Professions Student Training Program Grant. This $903,500 federal award will enable Simmons SSW to train 255 health professionals each year for the next three years.

This grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is the second federal training grant the School of Social Work has received in the past year. In September 2014, the School of Social Work received a three-year $972,400 Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative Training Grant, bringing the school to a combined federal grant total over $1.8 million.

Students in the Masters of Social Work program—as well as Direct Entry Nursing Students, MSW Field Instructors, teaching faculty, and health professionals across two multi-disciplinary fields—will benefit from the SBIRT training. The training will focus on the three aspects of the SBIRT acronym: screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment. This training will help professionals combat substance abuse of adults and older adults.

A team of SSW faculty wrote the grant and will carry out its implementation. Dr. Jennifer Putney will serve as the Project Director. Faculty members Dr. Tamara Cadet, Dr. Kimberly O’Brien, and Dr. David Robinson from Simmons School of Social Work, and Dr. Jean Christoffersen from the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Science. When asked about the importance of this grant and its necessity, Dr. Jennifer Putney responded:

Given the epidemic proportions of substance use, it is critical to prepare the next generation of social workers, nurses, and community-based health care teams to identify substance use disorders and, when indicated, offer compassionate, client-centered help. We have had the privilege of working with Dr. Sharon Levy and Dr. Elissa Weitzman at Boston Children's Hospital the past few years on a SAMHSA funded grant to develop social workers' capacities to provide SBIRT to adolescents at risk for substance use disorders. The response to this effort has been overwhelmingly positive among our faculty and students. This new SAMHSA-funded grant will enable Simmons to expand our SBIRT training and curriculum to prepare social workers to engage clients across the life course in screening and brief interventions for substance use.