FPU joins with other Christian universities to promote training for faculty, students

A partnership with another California Christian university will profit students in marriage and family therapy, social work and nursing at Fresno Pacific University.

The departments are involved in a grant Azusa Pacific University received from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop and implement Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) training among allied health professionals at faith-based universities. “SBIRT is currently the preferred training model for substance abuse detection in medical residency settings. Essentially we will be adapting this curriculum to train our MFT students in its use, improving their effectiveness and marketability in the workforce,” said Cynthia McGrady, Ph.D., program director and assistant professor of marriage and family therapy. The MFT program is part of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary.

Others participating in the three-year Azusa grant are Biola, California Baptist, Concordia and La Sierra universities. Like APU, these schools are based in the Los Angeles area. Representatives from each department will participate in integrated, faith-based training developed by Azusa, then return to instruct faculty, who will pass what they learn on to the students. Full implementation is expected at FPU in the fall of 2016. “The idea is to train the trainers, who can then implement the program in appropriate places in the curriculum for their students,” McGrady said.

Faculty agree this is a great opportunity.

“The social work department has tried to educate our students about issues of chemical dependency, but this SBIRT training will add clinical experience which will definitely prepare them for professional employment,” said Donna Callahan, M.S.W., social work program director.

“SBIRT training will enable our nurse practitioner students to increase their screening skills in primary care,” said Stacy Manning, D.N.P., director of nursing and the family nurse practitioner program.

“The MFT program at FPBS has always been committed to providing our students with the most up-to-date education possible. This is just the most recent step toward that goal,” said David Bruce Rose, Ph.D. associate professor of marriage and family therapy.

Working with Azusa Pacific will benefit students and those they serve. “SBIRT certification will enhance our students’ ability to provide effective service to the community, and also enhance their employment options upon graduation,” McGrady said.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations