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Class Descriptions

Applied Assessment Skills in Integrated Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: SW506

Pathway Associations

Community Change
Interpersonal PracticeRequirement (Host)
Mgmt & Leadership
Policy & Political
Program Evaluation
Older AdultsElective
Children & Families

Course Description

This course focuses on a holistic approach in promoting the development and deepening of assessment and screening skills and competencies. Conducting brief, evidence-based and evidence-informed assessments and screenings for common health, mental health, substance use and other behavioral health concerns which impact and/or compromise health and well-being will be the focus of this course. Holistic approaches which are developmentally appropriate across the life span and relevant in a variety of settings will be applied. Grounding of the assessment process in person in environment perspective (PIE), strengths-based approaches, the nature of the client/family and social support systems, cultural, spiritual and religious beliefs and other socio-economic resources that impact health and client well-being will be included.

Examples of screenings and assessments addressed in this course include a focus on mental health problems; adjustment to illness; risky, harmful or dependent use of a variety of substances (e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications, etc.); cognitive impairment; harm to self or others; abuse, neglect, and domestic violence; and behaviors that compromise health among others.


● Apply the holistic approach to health in conducting bio psychosocial spiritual assessments (EPAS 2, 3, 7)
● Evaluate of the signs, symptoms and treatments clients may receive for the most common health conditions, health crises, and comorbidity (EPAS 7, 8)
● Utilize established classification criteria to identify the most common mental health and substance use conditions (EPAS 7)
● Conduct brief, evidence-based, and developmentally sensitive screens for risky, harmful, or dependent use of substances (EPAS 4, 7)
● Analyze brief, evidence-based, and developmentally appropriate screens for cognitive impairment (EPAS 3, 7)
● Conduct brief screens for risk related to self-harm, harm to others, impairments in functional self-care, and environmental safety (EPAS, 3, 7)
● Classify signs of abuse, neglect, domestic violence and other trauma in individuals across the lifespan (EPAS 1, 2, 3, 7)


This course encourages a “flipped classroom” format in which students complete pre-class work (readings, videos, etc.). The majority of class time used for ALL students will focus on engaging in active clinical practice of assessment and screening using client vignettes and/or student-generated detailed client scenarios/role plays which represent diverse populations, health concerns/diagnoses, co-morbidities and lived experiences. Active practicing of skills, engaging in role-playing, observation and critical analysis of assessment process and mutually constructive feedback is critical to the skill development focus of this class.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

Consideration will be given to the ways in which diversity factors such as age, race, ethnicity, disadvantage, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, class, immigration status, ability, family status, geographic location, ethnicity and culture interact with and impact health, mental health and behavioral health impact assessment and screening. Culturally responsive engagement in the assessment process will be a focus.

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