The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is seeking to fund high-quality comparative effectiveness research (CER) that compares brief interventions to address adolescent alcohol use in primary care or school settings.

Adolescent alcohol use is prevalent, and because age at first substance use is a strong predictor of the development of Substance Use Disorder, early intervention is key. Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a widely endorsed public health strategy in primary care for prevention, delay, and interruption of substance use. Many national organizations have championed SBIRT, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians implement SBIRT for every patient.

Based on self-reported alcohol use during screening, patients are categorized as low, mild to moderate, or severe risk, with associated provider actions (anticipatory guidance, brief intervention, and brief intervention and referral to treatment, respectively). Brief interventions typically include motivational interviewing and may include elements such as brief advice, education, personalized feedback, goal setting, and/or follow-up booster sessions. Although these interventions were developed for adults, moderate effectiveness has been established for adolescents. Adaptations for use with adolescents have included peer delivery, family involvement, and digital delivery, among others.

Despite the widespread endorsement of screening and brief interventions for substance use and the emerging evidence base for the adolescent population, questions remain about optimal parameters for content, delivery, and follow-up for brief interventions for this population, and for specific subgroups.

Research Initiative Highlights

PCORI’s Targeted PFA is soliciting applications that respond to the following question:

What is the comparative effectiveness of brief behavioral interventions, adapted for adolescents ages 12-17, to address alcohol use?

PCORI is particularly interested in studies comparing primary care- or school-based interventions adapted to increase reach, engagement, and/or effectiveness for adolescents. PCORI is also interested in studies comparing brief interventions tailored to historically excluded, under-researched, and/or under-resourced adolescent populations. 

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Key Dates

Online System Opens
January 11, 2022
Applicant Town Hall
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View Event
Letter of Intent Deadline
Application Deadline
Merit Review
July 2022
Awards Announced
December 2022
Earliest Start Date
March 2023

Funds and Project Period

Funds Available Up To
$30 million
Total Direct Costs
Up to $5 million
Maximum Project Period
Up to 5 years

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