Youth Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment is an initiative by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing with funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to disseminate and support the advancement of SBIRT for youth within primary care practices. How do we do this?

  • Disseminate the Improving Adolescent Health: Facilitating Change for Excellence in SBIRT change package to a national primary care audience.
  • Provide training and technical assistance that facilitates the development of knowledge and skills among primary care practices and associations to improve access to youth SBIRT implementation support.
  • Advocate for policies that support and sustain youth SBIRT within primary care.

Youth Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (YSBIRT) is designed to reduce the effects of youth substance use by equipping primary care and behavioral health providers with the tools they need to prevent it. The team at the National Council of Behavioral Health offers this comprehensive package of tools, training, and technical support to assist providers in adopting the innovative and effective practice of early intervention.

Meet the Team

Aaron Williams, M.A.
Senior Director, Training and TA for Substance Use

Aaron Williams serves as an SBIRT practice coach and expert trainer for the YSBIRT project. He has more than 16 years of experience providing training and technical assistance in the field of behavioral health services, with an emphasis on substance use treatment and prevention, workforce development, and the implementation of evidence-based-practices in clinical settings. Aaronhas written and contributed to numerous articles and reports on: drugs of abuse, primary care and substance abuse integration, SBIRT, mental health and primary care integration, workforce development of behavioral health providers, and the implementation of medication assistant treatment services.

Pam Pietruszewski, M.A.
Integrated Health Consultant

Pam Pietruszewiski serves as an SBIRT practice coach and expert trainer for the YSBIRT project. She specializes in Motivational Interviewing (MI) and SBIRT. She has more than 20 years’ experience designing and implementing programs to integrate behavioral health and primary care services. She is listed in the National Registry of SBIRT Trainers from the Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network established by SAMHSA and has published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, American Journal of Managed Care, Mental Health Family Medicine, Annals of Family Medicine, Psychiatric Services and the Journal of Biomedical Informatics. She holds a master’s degree in Counseling and Psychological Services from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota.

Laura Leone, DSW, MSSW, LMSW
Consultant, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Laura Leone serves as an SBIRT practice coach and expert trainer for the YSBIRT project. She has worked in the behavioral health field for more than 20 years, providing training and consultation on integrated care, mental health, substance use, suicide prevention, evidence-based practices, value-based payment readiness and other behavioral health topic areas. Dr. Leone has extensive experience in bidirectional integration, engaging primary care in mental health partnerships and in specific clinical treatment modalities. She has published and presented nationally and has held leadership, clinical, administrative, supervisory, research and publication positions at a Federally Qualified Health Center; in private practice; at an in-patient psychiatric hospital; and at McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute.

Maura Gaswirth, LICSW
Director, Practice Improvement

Maura Gaswirth serves as the project director for YSBIRT. She is a licensed indepdenent social worker with more than 15 years of experience in child welfare and behavioral health settings serving complex and high-needs populations. Ms. Gaswirth is an expert in clinical quality improvement initiatives, training and technical assistance design, case management, person and family engagement, transitions of care, child welfare, integration and workforce development. She also has experience in implementing and managing large and small federal contracts as well as foundation grants. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor in Social Work from Saint Mary’s College (IN).

Flannery Peterson, M.P.H., P.M.P.
Senior Project Manager

Flannery Peterson serves as the project manager for YSBIRT. She brings more than 10 years of public health and project management experience. She currently leads a diverse portfolio of practice improvement projects at the National Council that improves access to care for behavioral health and addiction services providers. Prior to joining the National Council, Flannery worked in the public health and non-profit association field and served as an AmeriCorps member where she worked as an HIV/AIDS youth prevention specialist for at-risk youth.

Rachel Shaheen, M.P.A
Project Coordinator

Rachel Shaheen serves as the project coordinator for YSBIRT. She brings a passion to this work given her lived experience with mental illness and strong desire to help others find healing. Prior to joining the National Council, she worked in public policy and advocacy supporting the rights of immigrants, women, and working families. Rachel has extensive experience building capacity in nonprofit organizations to generate greater social impact. She has a history of creating tools and systems to strengthen operational functions within teams and utilizing technology to help drive fundraising, build data integrity, and advance organizational initiatives and goals. Rachel holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Northeastern University in Boston.

National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 2 million Americans have been trained.

Our mission is to ensure all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality behavioral health care that affords every opportunity for recovery.

A not-for-profit 501(c) association, the National Council accomplishes our mission through:

  • Advocating on Capitol Hill for policies that ensure people living with mental illness and addiction can access comprehensive health care services.
  • Leading state-of-the-science education, practice improvement, and consulting to drive integrated care and ensure services are efficient and effective.
  • Coordinating Mental Health First Aid across the U.S.
  • Offering NatCon, the annual National Council for Mental Wellbeing Conference featuring the best in leadership, organizational development, and excellence in mental health and addictions practice.