Loyola University Chicago

Center for Field Innovation, Research, Strategy, and Training (C-FIRST)

School of Social Work




C-FIRST Builds Upon Years of Successful History

Since 2014, C-FIRST has engaged students and communities and deployed various strategies to measure community impact (e.g., IPRY@LUC, SBIRT@LUC, OWETP@LUC and PracEd@LUC training programs) which has resulted in the following advancements across the School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago and the broader community.

Our history of funded training programs and initiatives includes the following, which has impacted over 1,200 students:

  • The Interprofessional Practice with At Risk Youth (IPRY) Training Program (HRSA Grant #G02HP27941, 2014-2017) provided social work students the opportunity to gain valuable skills working within interprofessional teams with youth who have or are at risk for behavioral health disorders in medically underserved communities. Curriculum to support student learning was developed and permanently integrated into the social work curriculum. Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes of the Center for Refugee and Immigrant Accompaniment (CIRA) was co-PI of this grant.
  • The SBIRT@LUC training program (2016-2019), funded by SAMHSA Grant #H79TI026444, was an interprofessional training program led by LUC’s School of Social Work in collaboration with the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Stritch School of Medicine. The purpose of the program was to develop curriculum to train students, faculty, and community-based professionals on the SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) model and to include motivational interviewing techniques. In addition, the curriculum was developed for all first-year MSW students on SBIRT and those MSW students in the health specialization received additional training on interprofessional practice.
  • The OWETP@LUC program (HRSA Grant #T98HP33467, 2019-2022) trains students on issues related to opioid use, opioid use disorders, and the opioid epidemic, with special emphasis on clinical treatment interventions and public policy issues. Students in the training program work in specialized field placements that are in medically underserved communities with adolescents and transitional aged young people.
  • The PracEd@LUC training program (SAMHSA Grant #H79FG000039, 2020-2022) is developing enhanced social work substance use curricula at both master’s generalist and advanced levels in addition to developing curricula for other disciplines and the broader community. These curricular modules include topics such as substance use disorder assessment, substance use disorder treatment, the SBIRT model, and motivational interviewing.
  • Engagement of social work faculty and students in interprofessional initiatives such as working as ambassadors with colleagues in nursing and medicine; collaboration on two LUC-funded health equity grant initiatives, resulting in increased visibility and interprofessional relationships.
  • Career path for LUC students educated and trained in SBIRT methods in the Schools of Social Work, Nursing and Medicine; in fact, one SBIRT@LUC training program student was hired by Catholic Charities to implement SBIRT.

Increased collaborative relationships with other academic institutions (e.g., Rush University, NORC at the University of Chicago) that have resulted in collaboration on grant applications, research initiatives, scholarships, etc.


Within the Chicago Community:

C-FIRST has a rich history of interprofessional collaboration with the greater community in Chicago and the surrounding area. Examples of these collaborations include non-profit organizations, hospitals, healthcare, mental healthcare and university settings including:

  • A Safe Haven

  • Catholic Charities

  • Chicago House

  • Chicago Public Schools

  • Chicago Youth Centers

  • Cook County Health

  • Family Guidance Center

  • Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)---Illinois Chapter

  • NORC at the University of Chicago

  • Rush University Medical Center

Certificate of Advanced Brief Interventions for Substance Abuse among Multiple Communities (CABISAM)

The Certificate of Advanced Brief Interventions for Substance Abuse among Multiple Communities at Loyola University Chicago (CABISAM@LUC) provides an interprofessional training environment for students from the School of Social Work, the Stritch School of Medicine and the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing to learn and apply the SBIRT model, motivational interviewing and brief negotiated interviewing skills with simulated patients and utilize these skills with clients/patients in community-based agencies and health care settings. Additionally, students integrate their learning and practice experience in an interprofessional capstone event at the end of the program.

The Opioid Workforce Expansion Training Program (OWETP)

The Opioid Workforce Expansion Training Program at Loyola University Chicago (OWETP@LUC) is a federally funded HRSA grant program that educates social work students about substance use and interventions with the aim to enhance prevention, education, treatment and recovery of adolescents and transitional-age young people (individuals up to 26 years old) at high risk for substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) by creating a pipeline to employment.