Introducing the SBIRT Scholars Program


What is the SBIRT Scholars Program?

SBIRT Scholars Program is a certificate program at the University of Illinois (2016-2019) for BSW or MSW students. The School of Social Work was awarded this three-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Principal Investigator, Dr. Doug Smith will train 230 students on how to provide SBIRT and Motivational Interviewing (MI) services to help identify clients who may benefit from reducing their substance use. SBIRT stands for screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment. SBIRT and MI are well-known, evidence-based treatment approaches for individuals with substance use disorders.

The SBIRT Scholar Program aims to provide intensive state-of-the-art training on these exciting treatments to our social work students. Importantly, SBIRT can be used by social workers in most direct care settings, not just settings that specialize in substance use disorder treatment. Thus, the program will give students a distinction that is increasingly appealing to a wide variety of employers. Skills learned in this program will also be increasingly more necessary for clinicians in the coming years due to major changes in health policy such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Who benefits from the SBIRT Scholars Program?

The SBIRT Scholar Program is for

  • Undergraduate students that complete Social Work 420 and complete their practicum at an SBIRT-approved field placement site.
  • Master’s level students who take Social Work 561  (Motivational Interviewing; 8 weeks), Social Work 561 (Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment; 8 weeks), and complete their practicum at an SBIRT-approved field placement site.

Who is eligible?

  • This program is open to any BSW students who enroll in Social Work 420
  • MSW students who enroll to take Social Work 561

How do I apply?

Interested students should attend an SBIRT informational meeting

  • (MSW) Thursday, October 22nd, 12-1 p.m. in Room 2018
  • (BSW) Friday, October 23rd, 12-1 p.m. in Room 2019

If you are unable to attend, but would like to be considered, please email Doug Smith:


Please contact Dr. Doug Smith: