Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Highlights WIPHL for Its Work Addressing Behavioral Health Issues

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recognized the Wisconsin Initiative to Promote Healthy Lifestyles (WIPHL) as a “Service Delivery Innovator” for its work in implementing behavioral screening and intervention (BSI) in primary healthcare settings.

The AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange profiled WIPHL’s BSI service delivery model, which is a preventive approach aimed at reducing unhealthy drinking, drug and tobacco use and depression. In its profile, AHRQ reviewed WIPHL’s successful implementation strategy, summarized its results, and offered suggestions for those considering adopting BSI.

“WIPHL is extremely honored to be featured by AHRQ for our work helping primary care settings identify and address patients with important behavioral health risks,” said Richard L. Brown, MD, MPH, UW Professor of Family Medicine and Director of WIPHL. “We know many health care experts and providers view AHRQ as a well-respected resource for improving healthcare outcomes.  We hope more clinics in Wisconsin and elsewhere will ensure that all patients receive cost-saving, effective BSI.”

For the past seven years, WIPHL has helped deliver BSI services to more than 150,000 patients in more than 40 primary care clinics and hospitals in Wisconsin. With grant funding from AHRQ and other sources, WIPHL provides free training, consultation services and support to healthcare professionals.

AHRQ is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for improving the quality and effectiveness of healthcare in the United States. The AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange is an online resource that offers health care professionals and researchers opportunities for sharing evidence-based innovations and tools.

For more information, visit

WIPHL Announces “The Time Is Now:” September Symposium on Behavioral Screening and Intervention

Wisconsin Initiative to Promote Healthy Lifestyles (WIPHL) announced the 2013 WIPHL Symposium on Behavioral Screening and Intervention (BSI) will be held September 17 at the Monona Terrace in Madison. The day-long event will be free and open to the public.

More than 20 experts will deliver presentations on the importance of BSI services at the Symposium, including a keynote address by John Torinus, Chairman of Seriograph, Inc. and the author of the book, “The Company That Solved Health Care.” Presenters also include leaders from The Alliance, Business Healthcare Group, Council on AODA of Washington County, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Wisconsin Collaborative for Health Care Quality, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association and various healthcare clinics across Wisconsin.

“The time is now for behavioral screening and intervention. As WIPHL’s director, I am very excited for the breadth of participation in the Symposium from healthcare providers and purchasers, businesses, policymakers and advocates,” said Dr. Richard L. Brown, MD, MPH. “We look forward to bringing together leaders, advocates and those new to BSI for a substantive discussion of real-world solutions to continuing the expansion of cost-saving, proven-effective BSI.”

More than 200 attendees are expected to take part in WIPHL’s Symposium. The event will offer panel, discussions, valuable presentations and networking opportunities to discuss the facilitators and barriers of implementing BSI in addition to encouraging the dissemination of the services in Wisconsin.

To register and view the full agenda, visit

BSI screens all patients annually by questionnaire for behavioral risks in general healthcare settings. These services are aimed at reducing tobacco use, unhealthy drinking, drug use, depression and obesity, which, in total, are responsible for more than 40 percent of deaths in the United States each year.

For more information on BSI, visit

Alcohol and Drug Screening Services Expand to Five Additional Clinics in Wisconsin

MADISON – Five Wisconsin healthcare clinics will now offer behavioral screening and intervention (BSI) services aimed at reducing unhealthy drinking and drug use, promoting smoking cessation and improving depression detection and treatment. BSI screens all patients in general healthcare settings for alcohol, drugs and other behavioral risks. Administered by a trained health educator, BSI is proven to reduce alcohol and drug use – the fourth leading cause of death in Wisconsin – and healthcare costs.

The Wisconsin Initiative to Promote Healthy Lifestyles (WIPHL) finished training seven new health educators to deliver BSI at these five clinics. Health educators meet with patients who screen positive on questionnaires for alcohol, drug use and other behavioral risks and conduct further assessment to deliver interventions or make referrals, as appropriate. They receive a two-week, comprehensive training lead by WIPHL and are a cost-efficient, dedicated addition to the health care team. There are now 20 clinics in Wisconsin that have health educators on staff to deliver BSI in a sustainable manner.

This new group of health educators will be working at:

  • Family Health / La Clinica, Wautoma
  • Sargeant Internal Medical Clinic, Medical College of Wisconsin, Wauwatosa
  • Richland Medical Center, Richland Center
  • University Health & Counseling Services, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater
  • Watertown Area Cares Clinic, Watertown

“As a health educator at a rural clinic in Northern Wisconsin, I’ve seen first-hand the help many patients need – and more importantly, want – to make positive lifestyle changes,” said Brittany Innes of Family Health / La Clinica. “Wisconsin is known for their above average levels of alcohol and drug use. After last week’s training, I now have the ability to go back to my clinic and help our patients get the critical assistance they need to address binge drinking, drug use, smoking and depression as well.”

WIPHL is a grant-funded program of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health that helps healthcare settings systematically implement BSI and train the important health educators who help deliver the service. For more information, visit