Alcohol Screening and
Brief Intervention Curriculum
Background and Significance
Other Resources
Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Health: Current Evidence
ACT Project

ACT Curricula
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Each of the following components (slides, videos, and learner pre and post tests) is downloadable and can be accessed via the links on this webpage.

The curriculum is designed to be modified to fit the needs of the educator. Slides can be modified, deleted, or added to fit the needs of the trainer and audience. If the full core curriculum is presented, including all slides, speaker notes, and videos, in an interactive fashion involving learners, it can take 75-120 minutes, depending on learner involvement. However, educators can selectively present cases or educational materials to shorten presentations to 45 minutes or less. For example, slides can be presented without videos, without using the detailed speaker notes, or without much audience interaction. Alternatively, the videos can be used alone to generate discussions about approaches to addressing alcohol problems. Another alternative is to use the slides and trigger videos for one case only.

Introduction to organization of slides/Suggested introductory exercise/preparation
In the core curriculum, the slides are roughly divided around three cases of increasing severity. Some audiences may identify patients with obvious alcohol dependence, who are not ready to change, as the biggest challenge. Recognizing this, Case 3 addresses dependence and Case 2 addresses the issue of counseling patients who are less ready to change. However, Cases 1 and 2 of the core curriculum also highlight nondependent risky and problem drinking, which although more common than dependence, often remain unrecognized despite the fact that clinicians may perceive screening to be relatively “easy”, with nondependent drinking patients less difficult to counsel and more responsive to brief interventions in primary care. Educators can rearrange slides order to address perceived learner preferences, recognizing that some facts and basic concepts/definitions appear earlier in the slide set.

Introductory exercise
Given the variation in learners’ needs, and to encourage learners to think about the spectrum of both drinking and readiness to change among their patients, it may be useful to ask learners what experiences they have had addressing alcohol problems in their patients, reviewing challenges and successes. Answers might be used to focus, choose emphasis, or reorder the presentation.

Introduction to videos
The videos are included to 1) reinforce concepts and approaches presented in the slides, and 2) to trigger learner discussions about approaches to alcohol problems. There are examples of good practice, less good practice, and varied patient responses to counseling. After viewing the videos, it is useful to ask learners and discuss:

  • What did the physician do well? Are there approaches the physician took that you could use in your practice? If so, what approaches might you use?
  • What could the physician have done differently? What wouldn’t you have done? How might you do it better?
  • Did the patient respond as you expected s/he would? Why or why not? Was the response surprising because you witnessed a new effective approach, or was the response unrealistic? How might your patients respond to the demonstrated approaches?

Introduction to Pre and Post Tests for Learners
For the core curriculum, pre and post tests can be used by faculty trainers to evaluate changes in knowledge, attitudes, and skills of learners before and after exposure to the core curriculum. Each takes about 5 minutes to complete, and can be modified to fit the needs of the educator.

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Last updated May 11, 2006
Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Curriculum is a product of the
Alcohol Clinical Training (ACT) Project