Abt Associates to Evaluate the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Substance Abuse Strategic Initiative

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Abt Associates wins a three-year, $1.5 million grant to evaluate a substance abuse initiative by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Building the evidence base for SBIRT for adolescents is very important to the health and behavioral health fields, and we are eager to support the goals of the Hilton Foundation, noted Dr. Christopher Spera.

Abt Associates will evaluate an initiative by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation aimed at delivering prevention and early intervention activities designed to screen youth for substance use in a variety of medical and community-based settings. The work will be fulfilled under a three-year, $1.5 million grant.

The process for substance use prevention and intervention—Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)—has been used successfully with adults, but current understanding of whether this model can successfully be applied to younger populations is limited and the issues are complex, according to Abt Associates’ Dr. Cori Sheedy, who will direct the project.

“It is challenging to engage adolescents in interventions, and while there are validated screening tools, physicians often assess substance use risk through their clinical judgments as opposed to validated screening tools. This leads to a significant underestimation of problems and disorders, which is the reason why this research is so timely and important,” Dr. Sheedy said.

Under the grant, Abt will conduct a quasi-experimental evaluation of the initiative in collaboration with a team of adolescent health professionals. The research will be used to improve delivery systems and promote program sustainability to: 1) increase skills and knowledge of SBIRT within healthcare and other settings serving youth; 2) improve the implementation of SBIRT services for youth; and 3) strengthen the evidence base and promote learning.

“Building the evidence base for SBIRT for adolescents is very important to the health and behavioral health fields, and we are eager to support the goals of the Hilton Foundation,” noted Dr. Christopher Spera, vice president for the U.S. Health Division at Abt Associates.

Abt Associates has been conducting an evaluation of an initiative by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to prevent and end long-term homelessness in Los Angeles County, which has one of the largest homeless populations in the nation.

About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries. http://www.abtassociates.com

About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $92 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2013. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2.4 billion. For more information, please visit: http://www.hiltonfoundation.org.

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Sandy Cogan
Abt Associates
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