Leaders in SBIRT

Edward Bernstein, MD, FACEP


For the past twenty-five years Dr. Bernstein has pioneered methods to integrate public health into emergency medicine practice, developed and disseminated systems of emergency care that enhance health communications between providers and patients, and extensively tested a comprehensive model for intervention in which physician extenders help steer patients with preventable conditions to appropriate services.

Dr. Bernstein was the founder (1987) of the Emergency Medicine Residency at the University of New Mexico, which incorporated problem based learning, and public health into the residency training. In 1996 he co-edited the textbook, “Case Studies in Emergency Medicine and the Health of the Public.”

Over the past seventeen years, Dr. Bernstein has developed a body of NIH sponsored research to test the application of brief motivational interviewing to improving health communications and outcomes to reduce sexual risk behavior among ED patients with cocaine and heroin abuse, reduce adolescent alcohol and marijuana use and, in a 14 site Academic ED study, reduce at risk and dependent alcohol use. He also tested the Project ASSERT model, the nation’s first SBIRT program, in a trial of a brief motivational intervention delivered by peers to cocaine and heroin users.

In December 2012, he received the Jerome Klein Award for Physician Excellence from Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center.

Together with Dr. Judith Bernstein, he leads the Boston University School of Public Health’s BNI-ART Institute which provides technical support and training in motivational interviewing, the peer model, system change and research design for providers in a variety of medical settings.

Organizations served by the Institute include: RWJ Join Together, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, SAMHSA , the Massachusetts DPH Health’s Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, Howard University Medical College’s Residency SBIRT Program, Yale New Haven Emergency Department’s Project ASSERT, Partners In Health PACT program, UMASS RBIRT and the Brandeis and Massachusetts  Behavioral Health Plan’s CMMS Innovations Grant.

Judith Bernstein, RNC, MSN, PhD


Dr. Judith Bernstein is Professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health.  She holds a joint appointment in the School of Medicine (BUSM), Dept. of Emergency Medicine, and is also a member of the core faculty of the Primary Care Residency Training program at BUSM.  For the past twenty-five years, she has led a multidisciplinary research team to develop Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) methodology for facilitating behavior change in a variety of clinical environments, adapt Motivational Interviewing (MI) protocols to busy practice settings, and translate research findings back into the practice world to improve health outcomes.  In 1993 she wrote one of the first SBI program grants, funded by SAMHSA/CSAT (Project ASSERT).