When the Northern Arizona SBIRT Grant Project started in 2012, one of the requirements was to implement SBIRT screenings in a hospital emergency department. Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC) was interested in participating, knowing that the SBIRT screenings would be helpful to their patients. However, the process was not easy. There were many individuals that were involved in the decisions surrounding how SBIRT could become a part of this busy Emergency Department, including the Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) involvement since data about clients (de-identified information) was to be entered into SAMHSA’s data system. At the same time, the Emergency Department was being remodeled to accommodate an area for patients that might be highly intoxicated or unruly.

In year 3 of the grant, FMC finally joined the Northern Arizona SBIRT project and Todd Parker was hired to oversee the program. Todd faced many challenges including staff turnover, hiring and training new staff and retraining existing staff but now has built a strong team that learned to work with the medical staff in the fast-paced environment of the Emergency Department. To date, FMC has conducted SBIRT screenings on hundreds of patients and the medical staff realize the value of doing the screenings so much so that FMC wants to continue SBIRT beyond the grant funding period.

The Northern Arizona SBIRT Grant Project is very grateful that FMC is part of the effort to screen at risk adults regarding their use of substances. A big thank you to Todd Parker and his team as well as to all of the Emergency Department physicians and personnel who helped make SBIRT at FMC a huge success!