The R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Lecture Award
Friday, April 20, 2012


Screening and Brief Intervention for Unhealthy Alcohol and Other Drug Use:
 Where the Evidence is...and isn't

Richard Saitz, M.D., M.P.H., FACP, FASAM


It seems like a ‘no brainer:’ identify unhealthy alcohol and other drug use, provide brief counseling, and improve individual and public health.  Screening and brief intervention (SBI) has been promoted widely (with many public dollars) for the range of substances, severity and settings in which people with these conditions appear. But what is the evidence that supports SBI? Should we expect it to work widely? How much evidence do we need? In this lecture, Dr. Saitz will provide an evidence-based view of the efficacy of SBI, including when we should be more circumspect, and how such evidence should be used to inform practice.


About Dr. Saitz

Dr. Saitz is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Director of the Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit in the Section of General Internal Medicine at the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health and Boston Medical Center.  Dr. Saitz received his MD from Boston University and his MPH in Quantitative Methods from Harvard University. He completed his residency and Chief Residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and a general medicine fellowship at Harvard University and Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital. He is a primary care internist, health services researcher and Associate Director of the medical campus’ Office of Clinical Research. He directs the Division of Clinical Research Resources for the Boston University Clinical Translational Sciences Institute. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Addiction Medicine.


His primary areas of expertise and research are screening and brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol and other drug use, integrating substance-related and general health care, such as chronic disease and care management, and improving the quality of care for people with addictions across the spectrum of use, particularly in general medical care settings. Dr. Saitz is the author of over 130 peer-reviewed publications, on the editorial boards of several journals including the British Medical Journal Editorial Advisory Board, past President of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, editor of a leading textbook of addiction medicine (Principles of Addiction Medicine), single author of the chapters in the electronic textbook UpToDate on screening and brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol and other drug use, and former Chairman of the Boston University Medical Center Institutional Review Board.  He is Editor of two Medline-indexed journals: Evidence-Based Medicine, published by the British Medical Journal Group and Addiction Science & Clinical Practice published by BioMed Central. He is a current member of the Washington Circle (a voluntary group that advises regarding quality of care measurement for substance abuse), the international Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (and a prior steering committee member), and he chaired the 2011 international meeting of the International Network for Brief Intervention for Alcohol and other drug problems (INEBRIA)(with grant awards from the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse), when he was elected to their coordinating committee.  His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.


He has received a number of awards, including membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society in medical school, the Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award from the Boston Jaycees in 2003, Best Doctors in America® 2003-2012, the W. Anderson Spickard, Jr. Excellence in Mentorship Award, Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA), 2011, and the R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), 2012.