Tech Transfer in Action Blog Series: Infusing Evidence-Based Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Information into Existing U.S. College and University Curricula

Beth Rutkowski, MPH
Co-Director, Pacific Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center, HHS Region 9

Developing a competent, highly skilled multidisciplinary workforce to provide effective treatment and recovery services to individuals living with a substance use disorder is a cornerstone of the training and technical assistance occurring throughout the SAMHSA-funded Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network. To be most effective, workforce development should begin at the pre-service education level, so that as new professionals graduate and enter into the field, they have the advantage of being equipped with the most up-to-date, science-based clinical tools.

For this reason, a key element of the Pacific Southwest ATTC’s five-year work plan is the development and distribution of a series of Curriculum Infusion Packages (CIPs) on a variety of targeted topics. The first, a 5-part CIP on Opioid Use Disorders (OUD), was developed and released in late summer/early fall 2019. The main developers were Beth Rutkowski, MPH, and Nancy Roget, MS, with additional guidance and editing support provided by Terra Hamblin and Drs. Thomas E. Freese, Michael Shafer, and Joyce Hartje.

The OUD CIP was developed for college and university faculty to infuse brief, science-based OUD-specific content into existing substance use disorder-related course syllabi (e.g., foundations of addiction, screening and assessment, general health-related classes, etc.). Instructors can select the specific content to infuse throughout the duration of the course, depending on specific needs of the learners. Each slide contains notes for the instructor to provide guidance, as necessary. References are included in each slide and handouts when possible.

Part 1 of the OUD CIP provides an overview of addiction as a brain disease, a description of opioids and how they work in the brain and body, the acute and chronic effects of opioid use, the epidemiology of the opioid epidemic, and resources for continued learning. Part 2 discusses the importance of integrated, holistic care for people with OUDs, tools to address the opioid epidemic, the difference between an opioid agonist and antagonist, a review of FDA-approved medications for OUD, and resources for continued learning. Part 3 reviews opioid overdose and prevention strategies. Part 4 provides discusses of the importance of using language that helps decrease stigma associated with SUDs. Lastly, Part 5 provides an overview of recovery supports and treatment recommendations for people with opioid use disorders.

The slide decks are designed to be used by academic faculty in behavioral health programs, trainers, behavioral health providers, and state/county agency staff members for a variety of audiences. Educators are free to use these slides and the pictures, but are asked to provide credit to the Pacific Southwest ATTC when using them by keeping the logo on each slide and referencing the Pacific Southwest ATTC at the beginning of their presentation(s).

For the Opioid CIP, the Pacific Southwest ATTC developed a two-part marketing and dissemination strategy. Wave 1 distribution occurred in August 2019 and targeted more than 160 colleges and universities across HHS Region 9 with a nursing, social work, psychology, and/or SUD counseling program or school. Wave 2 distribution occurred in September 2019 and targeted an additional 90 Region 9-based colleges and universities with a medical, criminal justice, community health service, and/or public health program or school. In addition, leadership in all of the community colleges across the six U.S.-affiliated Pacific Jurisdictions received a link to the electronic copy of the CIP. In a two-month time period from October 1-November 30, 2019, the OUD CIP was viewed and downloaded more than 540 times. Subsequent CIPs will be distributed in a single wave, and the PSATTC evaluation team will follow-up with educators approximately one month following receipt of the new CIP to assess the usefulness of and satisfaction with the information featured in the packages.

Future CIPs released in Years 03-05 of the funding cycle will focus on a variety of topics, including:
  • Compassion Fatigue
  • Stimulant Use Disorders – Methamphetamine and Cocaine
  • Alcohol Use Disorders
  • Chronic Pain Management
  • Smoking Cessation Strategies

To view and download the OUD CIP, please visit: Additional information is available at or by emailing Beth at

Hepatitis C Prescriber Toolkit

Laura W. Cheever, MD, ScM
Associate Administrator for HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau

Although advances in HIV care and treatment result in longer life expectancy for people with HIV, those who are coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C have a high risk of liver-related illness and death. Viral hepatitis progresses faster and causes more liver-related health problems among people with HIV than among those who do not have HIV. Approximately 25% of people with HIV are coinfected with hepatitis C.

Providers are key partners in national efforts to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection among people with HIV. To support providers in diverse settings to effectively engage and remain up to date on state-specific prescribing requirements, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s HIV/AIDS Bureau released the Hepatitis C Prescriber Toolkit on TargetHIV.

The interactive Hepatitis C Prescriber allows providers to select their state and learn about health coverage requirements that may impact the prescription of hepatitis c treatment. The toolkit also includes additional resources such as links to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part F AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) Program’s HIV/HCV Coinfection Curriculum.

Each state-specific page provides a link to the regional AETC partner for training opportunities and additional coinfection resources. , It provides information on Medicare, the state’s Medicaid contact, the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) contact with applicable prior authorization form. Providers can also access a list of patient assistance programs if their patient is not eligible for private insurance or ADAP coverage. 

Through the efforts of the RWHAP AETCs, a number of resources have been developed to support RWHAP recipients and providers to encourage increasing hepatitis C screening and treatment to help improve the health outcomes of people with HIV. The Hepatitis C Prescriber Toolkit is one more resource for providers to have at their disposal.

Visit the toolkit today!