Alcohol and drug Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is recommended by numerous authorities yet seldom delivered in an evidence-based manner in most primary care settings. This presentation will review research on the effectiveness of various components of SBIRT and strategies for dissemination. Gaps in such research will be identified, and future directions for research and implementation will be proposed.


Dr. Brown is a family physician and a tenured full professor in the Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin. His academic focus has been the primary care management of alcohol and drug disorders and other behavioral risk factors and conditions. He has conducted NIH-funded research, published dozens of peer reviewed articles, made numerous presentations, and conducted workshops in these realms on four continents. He served as president of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) from 1997 to 1999 and received AMERSA’s McGovern award for excellence in medical education in 2002. From 1999 to 2004, he served as the founding director of Project MAINSTREAM, a federally funded program that enhanced substance abuse education for twelve health professions and improved education for over 10,000 trainees. Since 2006, he has served as Director for the Wisconsin Initiative to Promote Healthy Lifestyles (

WIPHL has helped about 40 general healthcare settings provide over 110,000 screens and 25,000 interventions, garner excellent patient satisfaction, and elicit substantial declines in risky and problem drinking. In a pilot study, he showed that paraprofessionals can serve effectively as physician extenders in conducting screening, assessment, referrals, behavioral activation and collaborative care for depression. Dr. Brown is owner and CEO of Wellsys, LLC, which provides software, consulting, training and clinical support to enable healthcare settings to provide systematic, evidence-based, cost-saving screening and intervention services for the behavioral risks and disorders responsible for over 40% of deaths, most chronic disease and disability and nearly $1 trillion in costs per year.

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