BIG Initiative SBIRT Education

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Join The BIG Initiative

You are invited to join “BIG,” the Brief Intervention Group Initiative.  Click Here To Join!

There are no costs to join or participate in the BIG Initiative. 

BIG is an exciting new effort of the Employee Assistance industry in the U.S. and Canada to work together to identify and treat employees with alcohol-related problems as a means of increasing overall productivity and engagement in the workplace.

Today, fewer than 10% of issues that U.S. and Canadian EAPs address are recorded as “alcohol” related.   But many more employees struggle with alcohol-related issues than that number indicates.  Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) is a well researched practice that has demonstrated consistent success in correctly identifying alcohol needs in employees and assisting them to reduce hazardous use.  SBI is not widely or consistently used in our field.  Not yet.

By working together to promote routine screening and brief counseling for alcohol, EAPs will help their corporate customers and their employees to remain productive and healthy.  Together, we can change EAP call centers’ and office-based EAP counselors’ adherence to SBI evidenced-based protocols.  

Get Involved in the BIG Initiative

BIG works with all interested EAP providers and suppliers to standardize the delivery of SBI within their call centers and among their networks of office-based affiliates. The goal of the BIG Initiative is to obtain “buy-in” from the entire EAP industry, EAP providers, suppliers, employers and network affiliates.   If clinicians hear from every EAP whose panel they are on, that alcohol screening and brief intervention is expected and encouraged, then we can start to change practice.  If every EAP and EAP clinical professional organization’s continuing education websites offer consistent training materials on SBI, then the clear message will be heard.  If EAPs start seeing RFPs coming from benefits consultants and employers specifying alcohol SBI, then practice will change.  The BIG Initiative can link EAP vendors, clinicians, employers and consultants into a learning collaborative.  We can provide you with SBI screening materials, call center and clinician web-based training, telephonic coaching, and opportunities to share with your colleagues across the industry.  Working together across the EAP field to implement evidenced-based SBI can play a significant role in reversing some of the insidious and devastating effects of hazardous drinking that spill over into workplace health and productivity. Toward that goal we are including a list of some key resources in this letter as well as a list of those EAP professionals already involved in this movement.  We encourage any and all questions regarding this momentous and timely movement in the EAP field.

BIG Initiative Committees

The BIG Initiative has four committees:

  • Board of Directors
    • A 15-member Board of Directors advises and directs the BIG Initiative.  The Board is made up of senior Employee Assistance leaders, researchers, benefits consultants and employers.
  • Operations and Systems Committee
    • The Systems and Operations Committee is made up of EAP call center managers and supervisors and is focused on making alcohol screening and brief intervention routine EAP call center practice.
  • Clinical Improvement Committee
    • The Clinical Improvement Committee is made up of EAP clinical professional associations, clinicians, and EAP leaders.  It focuses on training and education of office-based clinicians to deliver alcohol screening and brief intervention for EAP clients.
  • Quality Improvement Committee
    • The Quality Improvement Committee is made up of EAP leaders, researchers and evaluators and is focused on providing objective data on which the quality of EAP services can be continuously improved.  The Committee develops and disseminates measurement tools, evaluation designs and surveys of current practice, and it consults with other BIG committees and BIG participants.