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Evaluation of Youth Substance Use Prevention


  • Hilton Foundation funded 75 projects to expand youth SBIRT services.
  • Abt is the monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) partner.
  • The Foundation’s investment positively impacted youth, families, providers and systems.
The Challenge

In 2013, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation initiated a five-year Youth Substance Use Prevention and Early Intervention Strategic Initiative to promote early detection and intervention for substance use among youth age 15-22. The initiative called for use of the screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) framework. The Foundation awarded $61 million to 75 projects conducting research, training, implementation, communications and policy-related activities. To expand SBIRT services nationally, the Foundation selected grantees that could reach youth and/or influence youth-serving systems, such as primary care networks, health professional associations, policy experts, and nonprofit organizations.

The Approach

Abt Global has served as the monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) partner for the initiative since 2014. In this role, Abt works collaboratively with the Foundation, its grantees, and the broader community to:

  • Measure progress
  • Identify key areas of learning and develop recommendations
  • Collect data and advise on improvements needed to strengthen delivery systems and improve local evaluation capacity
  • Identify aspects of systems change needed to sustain implementation of prevention and intervention activities and support scalability
The Results

Over the past five years, evaluation findings indicate the Foundation’s investment has impacted young people, their families and youth-serving providers and systems by:

  • Training 34,541 healthcare and other multidisciplinary youth-serving providers on youth substance use and SBIRT
  • Increasing understanding about substance use as a health issue and the related risk and protective factors by distributing material to 911,230 providers and screening more than 73,000 youths at 802 sites
  • Identifying and engaging advocates to change policy to strengthen youth substance use prevention efforts
  • Implementing and evaluating SBIRT in key youth-serving settings, helping to build the evidence-base.

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