Project Descriptions

Development & Evaluation of Evidence-Informed Training

CIBER develops evidence-informed clinical training for social workers, allied professions, and professions engaged with social workers through interdisciplinary teams. Emphasis is placed on workforce development in two primary areas: 1) training individuals belonging to groups that are underrepresented in the profession of social work, and 2) increasing the skills of all clinical practitioners to deliver evidence-informed treatment that recognizes, respects, and attends to the diverse experiences clients have. CIBER evaluates its clinical training programs and works to infuse and sustain learning from its grant-funded projects into the Social Work educational programs it delivers to enrolled students, alumni, and working professionals. Below are brief descriptions of selected training programs.

Institute for Trauma Training in Schools (ITTS)

The Institute for Trauma Treatment in Schools (ITTS) aims to expand the current and future mental health workforce by providing training in trauma-informed, school-based mental health services to MSW students (pre-service) and current practitioners (in-service) nationwide. Over the course of the grant, ITTS will train 850 MSW students and 900 school-based practitioners, bridging the gap in mental health disparities for children impacted by trauma by increasing access to no-cost treatment to children in grades K-12. ITTS aims to reduce the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) through online workforce training and support. The ITTS curriculum engages participants in the exploration and implementation of evidence-based practices including Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools, BounceBack for Classrooms, Trauma Systems Therapy, Core Concepts of Childhood Trauma, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, and Mindfulness and is reinforced through professional support networks. ITTS actively recruits students and practitioners from rural communities that are underserved by mental health professionals. ITTS is a collaboration between the SSW and The Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention.

Funded by: The Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) (Grant number: 1H79SM085045-01) from September, 2021 - September, 2026.

Simmons Workforce Wellbeing Empowerment Project (SWWEP) Scholars Program

The Simmons Workforce Wellbeing Empowerment Project trains masters level social work students (MSWs) to provide trauma-informed mental health services to children and provides education to these trainees that supports workforce well-being. Specifically, SWWEP recruits and stipends 18 students from communities underrepresented in the field of social work and most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and social, economic, and health inequities. Trainees earn an MSW with a Certificate in Trauma Practice. They also earn a Certificate in Wellbeing Science and Burnout by completing a wellbeing-science informed intervention that includes didactic training and supportive peer groups focusing on issues of burnout and secondary traumatic stress prevention; street level bureaucracy and the impact of organizational culture on worker wellbeing; an exploration of resilience with an emphasis on the challenges of achieving resilience in the face of oppression and discrimination. SWWEP Scholars expands and diversifies the children's mental health workforce, while focusing on workforce empowerment and retention.

Funded by: Boston Children's Collaboration for Community Health from July, 2002 - June, 2025.

Harm Reduction Training (HaRT) Scholars Program

The HaRT Scholars Program engages Masters-level social work (MSW) students in specialized training related to the principles and practices of harm reduction for substance use. The HaRT Scholars Program aims to expand the behavioral health workforce that are skilled in the provision of harm reduction services in community-based organizations that serve historically minoritized and marginalized populations. The HaRT Scholars curriculum incorporates specialized training, such as the Substance Use and Social Work Practice course and simulation-based learning, to each cohort of HaRT Scholars. Additional curricular offerings, including the annual Harm Reduction Summit and trainings on current topics in harm reduction, are presented online; these are open to all social workers and allied health professionals interested in expanding their knowledge related to the philosophy and practical application of harm reduction. The HaRT Scholars Program aims to train a total of 17 students over three years, focusing recruitment and stipend support to individuals from racial and ethnic minoritized communities.

Funded by: RIZE Massachusetts Foundation from July, 2021 - June, 2024.

Expansion of Substance Use Practitioner Education Program (ESPE)

The Simmons SSW Expansion of Substance Use Practitioner Education (ESPE) program supported the development and evaluation of a curriculum, Substance Use and Social Work Practice, for use in Master-level social work programs at Simmons. The curriculum is now a required course for all MSW students across both online and campus-based educational platforms. The course teaches students to identify, assess, and provide evidence-based care and interventions for individuals with substance use disorders, with particular attention to alcohol, marijuana, stimulants, and opioids. During the two-year grant period, the course was implemented 70 times over 17 academic terms and across two program platforms. In total, 1,204 MSW students completed the course and 17 instructors were trained to teach evidence-informed substance use treatment content. More than 500 MSW students at Simmons continue to be trained through this curriculum every year.

Funded by: The Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) (Grant number: 1H79FG000119-01) from May, 2020 - May, 2022.

Simmons Trauma Education Project (STEP)

The Simmons Trauma Education Project (STEP) trained 15 MSW students and 58 field supervisors to provide high-quality, culturally aware, trauma-informed care to children and families impacted by trauma. STEP expanded and strengthened the reach of the SSW's MSW-based trauma certificate to the Boston-area mental health workforce. In particular, STEP focused on recruiting and providing stipends to MSW students from historically underrepresented backgrounds in the field, including individuals identifying as members of linguistic minority, LGBTQ+, immigrant, ethnically and/or racially diverse populations and rural backgrounds. Findings from STEP continue to inform the advancement of trauma-informed care delivered through the MSW trauma certificate, the most sought after credential within the MSW program, and expand the breadth of trauma-informed services in the greater Boston area.

Funded by: Boston Children's Hospital Collaboration for Community Health Initiative from May, 2019 - April, 2022.

Simmons Opioid Workforce Expansion Program (SOWEP)

The SOWEP Scholars Program advanced the behavioral health workforce by training 77 MSW students in evidence-based opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance-use disorder (SUD) prevention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals disproportionately impacted by substance use. The SOWEP curriculum included didactic, interprofessional training and education in the classroom, as well as experiential learning in community-based settings located in high-need, high-demand areas. Settings included non-traditional sites such as Harvard Law School, Boston Emergency Services Team, and Boston Children's Hospital Division of Emergency Medicine. SOWEP Scholars engaged in practicum education training focusing on integrated behavioral health care, evidence-based treatment, and harm reduction services for substance use and are committed to growing the behavioral health workforce in communities with the highest need.

Funded by: Human Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) (Grant number: T98HP33418) from August, 2019 - September, 2022.

Simmons Integrated Mental Health Primary Care & Clinical Training - Substance Use Disorder (SIMPACT-SUD) Program

The SIMPACT-SUD Scholars Program was supported via a competitive supplement to the HRSA-funded SIMPACT Scholars Program and aimed to expand the behavioral health workforce, including Master-level social work students, faculty, and field supervisors, in the implementation, teaching, and delivery of integrated behavioral health and substance use treatment services. Through the SIMPACT-SUD Scholars Program, the SSW partnered with four Boston-area Federally Qualified Health Centers: Codman Square Health Center, Family Health Center of Worcester, South End Community Health Center, and Outer Cape Health Services to enhance experiential training for MSW students, as well as agency-wide training related to treatment of OUDs and other SUDs. Over the course of the grant, 18 SIMPACT-SUD Scholars engaged in stipended didactic and experiential training focusing on integrated behavioral health care and substance use. Likewise, each partner health center received $400,000 to develop and strengthen organizational infrastructure to provide integrated behavioral health and substance use services within their local communities.

Funded by: Human Resources & Services Administration (HRSA-18-112) (Grant number: M01HP31340) from August 2018 - September, 2020.

Simmons Integrated Mental Health Primary Care & Clinical Training (SIMPACT) Program

The SIMPACT Scholars Program aimed to strengthen the behavioral health workforce that is skilled in the provision of evidence-based, integrated behavioral health services in primary care settings serving historically marginalized and minoritized populations. A dual aim of the SIMPACT Scholars Program was to build a workforce that is more reflective of the individuals it serves; thus, the program focused on recruiting and providing stipends to MSW students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, including individuals identifying as members racial and/or ethnic minority, linguistic minority, LGBTQ+, and immigrant populations, as well as individuals from rural and economically or environmentally disadvantaged backgrounds. Over four years, the SIMPACT Scholars Program trained 119 MSW students to provide high-quality, integrated behavioral health in primary care settings in urban and rural medically underserved areas. As of 2022, over 50% of SIMPACT Scholar graduates were employed in settings located in federally-designated medically underserved areas and/or an area identified as a health professional shortage area (HPSA).

Funded by: Human Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) (Grant number: M01HP31340) from September, 2017 - August, 2021.