Student, Faculty, and Field Instructor Approaches to SBIRT Implementation

Implications for Model Fidelity

  • Mohan Vinjamuri Lehman College, CUNY
  • Lydia P. Ogden
  • Jessica M. Kahn
Keywords: Evidence-based practice, implementation science, SBIRT, model fidelity


Informed by an empirically-based implementation model, this study examined how social work faculty, student, and fieldwork instructor approaches to using the evidence-based SBIRT protocol affected implementation and model fidelity. Data were obtained from two rounds of focus groups with three groups of stakeholders (faculty, students, and fieldwork instructors) about their experiences teaching, learning, using, and supervising SBIRT and were analyzed using a hybrid inductive and deductive process. Analyses yielded three main categories of approaches: those that impeded implementation and model fidelity; those that supported implementation but were not congruent with model fidelity; and those that supported both implementation and model fidelity. Lack of consciousness about model fidelity was an issue across groups. Efforts to find a fit between the protocol, settings, and professional approaches to social work often led to implementation but questionable model fidelity. Repeated exposure to new material and opportunities to engage with it, having specific tools, and supporting learners’ efforts to uphold social work values can promote faithful implementation.


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