Beliefs about substance use are always tied to culture. As a result—even more than most healthcare practices—effective use of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) requires cultural education.

Fortunately, the National ATTC Network provides expert guidance on working with diverse populations. In this webinar, Sean Bear and Lena Thompson from the American Indian/Alaska Native ATTC discuss SBIRT from a Native perspective. In addition to specific barriers and facilitators to the use of SBIRT in Native American communities, they share clinical tips to improve your response to substance use with a Native client/patient.


Sean A. Bear is a member of the Meskwaki Tribe in Tama, Iowa. He earned his B.A. from Buena Vista University and studied mental health counseling at Drake University. Mr. Bear works as the Senior Behavioral Health Consultant at the National AI/AN ATTC, and has seven years of experience as a substance use counselor, primarily with Native American populations.

Lena Thompson, MPH, has worked on health campaigns in Iowa and also abroad. She earned her degree from the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Ms. Thompson works as a Research Associate at the National AI/AN ATTC.

Additional Resources

Slides – What Is SBIRT?
Slides – SBIRT in Native American Populations