The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is seeking to fund high-quality comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) that compares brief interventions to address adolescent alcohol use in schools, primary care, or other community-based 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 reissued 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 brief 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. PCORI is specifically interested in interventions in schools, primary care, or other community-based settings where the target population may best be reached.

For questions regarding this funding announcement, please reach out to [email protected].

Download Full Announcement

Key Dates

Online System Opens
January 10, 2023; 9:00 am ET
Applicant Town Hall
View Event
Letter of Intent Deadline
February 7, 2023; 5:00 pm ET
Letter of Intent Status Notification
March 7, 2023
Application Deadline
May 2, 2023; 5:00 pm ET
Merit Review
July 2023
Awards Announced
Earliest Start Date
March 2024

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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