COAL (Coalition for Opioid and Addiction Leadership) Fellowship

Opioid Workforce Fellowship research team at table

The opioid epidemic has created a public health emergency in Southwest Pennsylvania, straining the resources and capacity of providers with its significant treatment needs and devastating the region with high rates of overdose deaths. The COAL Fellowship is committed to expanding the workforce in areas where prevention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals with opioid use disorders and substance use disorders are desperately needed.

Program Benefits

Training Stipend:  $10,000

Field Placement Options    

COAL field sites encompass current behavioral health providers that provide services to people with opioid use disorders and substance use disorders and co-occurring populations. Training sites will span the continuum of settings that address the opioid epidemic ranging from traditional substance abuse treatment facilities to Emergency Medical Services (EMT) to primary care.

Examples of field sites include:

  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)
  • Health systems and hospitals
  • Community-based agencies
  • MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) settings and clinics

Field placements are structured to require students to be placed on an interprofessional team of providers. Specific attention has been paid to field sites that focus on the variety of ages that are impacted by the opioid epidemic ranging from adolescent/young adults to older adult populations.

Program Learning Objectives

The COAL Fellow will:

  • become an expert in the identification, assessment, and diagnosis of opioid use disorders (OUD) and substance use disorders (SUD).
  • learn evidence-informed interventions (e.g., motivational interviewing, trauma informed care) to treat OUD and co-occurring mental health conditions.
  • gain knowledge of interprofessional and integrated treatment models to treat OUD (e.g., office-based opioid treatment, medication assisted treatment).

Participation Commitments

Ongoing participation is critical to the success of this training program. Students are required to:

  • Complete 720 hours of field work at designated COAL agencies
  • Complete all paperwork, clearances, and trainings required by the field agency
  • Participate in all evaluations and reports for the COAL Fellowship
  • Complete required coursework toward the Mental Health Certificate, the Gerontology Certificate, or the Integrated Healthcare Certificate
  • Students are required to attend a monthly seminar (meeting) with their peers. Attendance at these seminars is mandatory and will count toward students’ total field practicum hours

Seminar topics may include:

  • Interprofessional learning opportunities
  • NARCAN use and distribution (co-hosted with EMTs)
  • Advancing telehealth technology for OUD and behavioral health treatment (co-hosted with Center for Behavioral Health and Smart Technology)
  • Diagnosing co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders using the DSM-5 (co-hosted with faculty from the Department of Psychiatry)

(NOTE: topics and speakers will vary each year. This is a sample.)

Watch our April 13, 2022 seminar: “Serving Older Adults with Substance Use Disorders.” This seminar was a collaboration between the Hartford Fellowship, Coalition on Opioid and Addictions Leadership (COAL), and the Program Evaluation and Research unit (PERU) of the School of Pharmacy.

Required Courses


SWINT 2042                             SW with Substance Use and Other Addictive Disorders   3 crs.

SWINT 2007                             Integrating Psychopharmacology in SW Practice                3 crs.


In addition, COAL students must complete all required courses toward one of the following certificates:

  • Mental Health Certificate
  • Integrated Healthcare Certificate
  • Gerontology Certificate


  • Second-year or advanced standing, full-time students
  • Direct practice specialization
  • Pursuing the Integrated Healthcare, Mental Health, Gerontology certificates, or the Hartford Fellowship
  • Demonstrated strong academic performance