Just as Americans are aware of the connection between hypertension, stroke, and heart disease, they should be aware of the connection between mental and substance use disorders and take action to prevent and treat these problems. Opportunities for preventing or intervening early to reduce the death and illness associated with substance use disorders are often missed. One such intervention is the use of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). This evidenced-based intervention is proven to impact substance use, abuse and dependence.

Preventing and delaying initiation of substance abuse can reduce the potential need for treatment later in life. We will apply the SBIRT model to multiple sectors of society and a variety of settings such as healthcare, the workplace, education, behavioral health settings, military settings, faith based organization and others.


Jim Aiello, MA, MEd joined the staff of IRETA in August 2008. For the previous 12 years he served as Executive Vice President of Treatment Programs for Gateway Rehabilitation Center, one of the oldest and largest providers of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in western Pennsylvania. In this capacity, he had responsibility for the administration, planning and coordination of Gateway’s services, delivered at 19 locations in Pennsylvania. He was with Gateway for over 25 years in various supervisory capacities. Prior to this he was Director of Clinical Services for Turtle Creek Valley MH/MR’s Regional Chemical Abuse Program, and Unit Director for the South Hills Health System’s Regional Alcoholism Program.

Mr. Aiello has been an instructor in Penn State’s Chemical Dependency Counselor Training Program, has a Masters degree in Theology from St. John’s University in New York City, and a Masters degree in Counseling from the University of Georgia. He currently serves on the advisory board of Penn State Beaver’s Psychology Department and the Board of Directors of Turtle Creek Valley MH/MR Inc.

Holly Hagle, Ph.D. has been actively working with providers since joining the Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions (IRETA) in 2003. She is the Director of the National Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment Addiction Technology Transfer Center (National SBIRT ATTC) and as such oversees all of the training and educational initiatives.

Dr. Hagle oversees the curriculum development and project coordination for three Heath Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) SBIRT federally funded projects with the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing since 2006. Dr. Hagle is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health and Community Systems, University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing. Dr. Hagle has her BS in Psychology, MA in Education, Curriculum and Instruction and PhD in Education, Instructional Management and Leadership.

Tracy McPherson, PhD is the Senior Research Scientist in the Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Criminal Justice Studies Department at NORC at the University of Chicago. Dr. McPherson has led initiatives supported by NIDA, CSAP, NHTSA, NHLBI, SAMSHA, and CDC. She co-leads the Brief Intervention Group (BIG) Initiative aimed at changing the way providers of behavioral and medical healthcare services assess and intervene for substance abuse by adopting evidence-based screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment practices.