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.
Application Deadline: March 1st
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).
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.)
- 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
- Updated resume
- Statement of interest
- In no more than 5 paragraphs, please discuss why you would like to participate in this fellowship experience. What attracts you to this project? What strengths do you bring that can be engaged in this learning experience? What do you hope to gain from the experience? How will it contribute to your achieving your career goals?
- Unofficial transcript
- Letter of recommendation (can be professional or academic).
Please email this link to your recommender (professional recommendation from a work or internship supervisor is suggested). Letter of Recommendation forms can be found here.
- Number of positions: 20
- Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of a minimum of 4 Pitt SSW faculty members, 1 staff member. Selected students will be interviewed by a team of faculty/staff/as well as a social worker working in the field
- All applicants will be notified of their status (accepted, wait-listed, denied) by April 3rd.
- Final acceptance into the program is contingent on the student’s interview and acceptance at a designated COAL field site.
Application Deadline: March 1
Interview and Review: March 2-15
Notification: March 16
Candidate Acceptance Deadline: March 20
If there are unfilled positions, rolling applications will be accepted and reviewed: April – July
Rolling application and wait list notification: August 15th
Once a student formally accepts a fellowship appointment, they will be removed from any other training program wait list.
Program Administrator: Melissa Brusoski, MPH