News & Announcements

Trenton Health Team Wins $5.2 Million Grant for Substance Abuse Screening Program

TRENTON – Five city health clinics will soon begin screening patients for drug and alcohol problems thanks to a $5.2 million state grant received by the Trenton Health Team, the organization announced today.

“If you go to a substance abuse center, you’re often labeled a drug addict,” said Dr. Kemi Alli, medical director of the Henry J. Austin Health Center, in a press release. “But by incorporating screening into the very fabric of how we treat our patients, it becomes not very different than treating diabetes and hypertension.”

The Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment or SBIRT program is expected to screen 8,750 people in its first year, Alli said. It will be implemented at Henry J. Austin’s three locations and at the city’s Capital Health and St. Francis clinics.

Patients who identified as being at risk for substance abuse will be referred to a healthcare educator who will conduct an intervention described as a 15-minute motivational conversation about treatment options, the release said.

The program has been used in cities in Colorado, Massachusetts, Florida and other states.

The five-year, $5.2 million grant from the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services will train clinic employees to screen and counsel patients, Trenton Health Team president Robert Remstein said.

“The idea is, when patients come into primary care, screen them for signs of substance abuse, drug abuse and do a brief intervention and get them into treatment,” Remstein said in the release.

The Trenton Health Team is an alliance of the Henry J. Austin Health Center, Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center and Trenton’s Department of Health and Human Services.

About the Trenton Health Team
Trenton Health Team (THT) is an alliance of the city’s major providers of healthcare services including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the city’s Health Department. In collaboration with residents and the city’s active social services network, THT is developing an integrated healthcare delivery system to transform the city’s fragmented primary care system and restore health to the city. THT aims to make Trenton the healthiest city in the state. Support for the Trenton Health Team was provided in part by a grant from The Nicholson Foundation. For more information, visit