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Subst Abus. 2013;34(4):344-9. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2013.787958.

Team-based learning exercise efficiently teaches brief intervention skills to medicine residents.

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a Division of General Internal Medicine , University of California, San Francisco , San Francisco , California , USA.



Evaluations of substance use screening and brief intervention (SBI) curricula typically focus on learner attitudes and knowledge, although effects on clinical skills are of greater interest and utility. Moreover, these curricula often require large amounts of training time and teaching resources. This study examined whether a 3-hour SBI curriculum for internal medicine residents utilizing a team-based learning (TBL) format is effective for SBI skills as measured by a standardized patient (SP) assessment.


A waitlist-controlled design was employed.


Twenty-four postgraduate year 2 (PGY-2) and PGY-3 residents participated in a SP assessment prior to the TBL session (waitlist control group) and 32 participated in a SP assessment after the TBL session (intervention group). The intervention residents demonstrated better brief intervention skills than waitlist control residents, but there were no differences between the groups in screening and assessment skills. Residents receiving the TBL curriculum prior to the SP assessment reported increased confidence in all SBI skills.


Findings indicate that a brief educational intervention can improve brief intervention skills. However, more intensive education may be needed to improve substance use screening and assessment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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