Spotlight: Catherine Hunter, LCDP, SBIRT Project Director, BHDDH

  • 11 Nov 2021

How did the launch and 4-year operation of the SBIRT program help support the state?

SBIRT was introduced at a crucial time and our approach was designed to promote change at the macro- and micro-levels. We know the importance of integrating physical and behavioral health care, and that includes substance use. The launch of SBIRT has helped with changing the landscape for providers and the individuals they have served in Rhode Island. 

What do you see as the biggest successes of the program?

Having screened over 27,000 Rhode Islanders since its inception, SBIRT has helped normalize the conversation about substance use in healthcare and community settings. These conversations have educated individuals, provided early intervention, and prevented substance use disorders. The positive outcomes we have seen in those participating in SBIRT has been a highlight of the grant. Seeing SBIRT engrained in our providers’ workflows shows the value SBIRT has had in their programs as well.

What lessons learned or best practices should continue from the SBIRT program?

Sustainability has always been at the forefront of our minds when thinking about the future of SBIRT. The train-the-trainer model has and will allow for SBIRT to continue to grow after the grant. Understanding the difficulties of navigating reimbursement for SBIRT has been a challenge and one we will continue to navigate. Regarding best practice, our collaboration between state agencies, providers, and stakeholders throughout this grant is what made it as successful as it was.