Grant will train medical residents to spot substance abuse

SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 12, 2008) — Hundreds of medical residents at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will learn to recognize substance abuse problems as they develop and to intervene quickly and effectively, thanks to a recently awarded federal grant.

The Health Science Center will receive $1.8 million over five years from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The award was announced in September at the White House.

The grant will be used to create a Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT) program. Medical residents will learn to identify developing substance abuse problems, or those that have gone undiagnosed, and to intervene or, if necessary, provide referrals for specialized treatment. SBIRT programs have been shown to decrease drug and alcohol use and to increase the number of patients entering specialized treatment, according to SAMHSA.

The Health Science Center’s Department of Pediatrics will coordinate the SBIRT training. A number of departments will participate, including Family & Community Medicine, Psychiatry, Medicine, and Obstetrics & Gynecology. The training, which is scheduled to begin in February 2009, also will include residency programs in Internal Medicine and Family & Community Medicine at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen.


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $16.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $36 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 24,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit

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