SBIRT Training Taken from the BMC Emergency Department to Universidad Central del Caribe in Puerto Rico

The BNI ART Institute recently traveled to Bayamon, Puerto Rico to train members of the faculty and the president of the Universidad Central del Caribe (UCC), in Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). This training originated to meet SAMHSA’s priority to incorporate behavioral health in primary care, and based on the goal of Universidad Central del Caribe president’s Dr. José Ginel Rodríguez, to provide graduates of the medical school with the skills and knowledge to prevent and treat addiction to drugs and alcohol. Dr. José Ginel Rodríguez envisions adding SBIRT to the medical school curriculum. This training was sponsored by the Caribbean Basin & Hispanic Addiction Technology Transfer Center (CBHATTC) at Universidad Central del Caribe under the coordination of María del Mar García, who said “with this training we are filling a big education need in the field primary medicine.”

The training was lead by Dr. Edward Bernstein, MD, FACEP, Director of the BNI ART Institute, at Boston University School of Public Health. Other BNI ART Institute trainers that participated included, Caitlin K. Barthelmes, MPH, Nilsa Rodríguez, BSW, and Brenda Rodríguez, MBA, Consultant for BNI-ART Institute and former BNI ART Institute Deputy Director 2006-2008.

This 3 day training, bilingual in English and Spanish, took place from April 11 to the 13, 2012 and included class room instruction, practicum exercises, role plays, and on hand training in the emergency room (ER) of the Ramón Ruiz Arnau hospital, where trainees had the opportunity to interview patients and  put into  practice in real time what they learned in the class room. The training benefited from an excellent training facility that included a simulation lab at the UCC Medical School. This technology allowed the group to view and critique the trainee’s performance of screening and brief intervention in real time.

Another big asset the UCC has is its strong partnerships with treatment providers located at the Ramón Ruiz Arnau University Hospital and other nearby locations, which provide medical and psychological care as well as spiritual counseling to adults that present with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Trainees were able to help patients that presented with substance abuse problems get the care they needed by referring them to these providers. They were also able to put in practice their brief negotiated interview skills with at risk patients for substance abuse and worked with them to establish realistic goals to practice healthy behaviors around substance use.

Currently Dr. Bernstein continues to provide expert consultation to trainees as they implement next steps to ensure SBIRT is part of their medical curriculum and of everyday primary health care practice. According to Dr. Bernstein UCC is leading the way in medical education by requiring their students to demonstrate their SBIRT skills. UCC continues to strengthen relations with the hospital’s ER and the local treatment centers as partners and training sites to implement SBIRT in their medical curriculum.