Tracy McPherson

Tracy L. McPherson Senior Research Scientist

Public Health

Ph.D., Applied Social Psychology, George Washington University
M.S., Psychology, Old Dominion University
B.S., Psychology, Longwood College

​Tracy L. McPherson is a Senior Research Scientist in the Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Criminal Justice Studies Department.

Over the past 13 years, McPherson has led initiatives supported by NIDA, CSAP, NHTSA, NHLBI, SAMSHA, and CDC. She co-leads the Brief Intervention Group (BIG) Initiative aimed at changing the way employee assistance and providers of behavioral healthcare services assess and intervene for substance abuse by adopting evidence-based screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment practices. McPherson is an applied social psychologist and an expert on substance abuse prevention and early intervention who, until deciding to join NORC, has been an Assistant Research Professor at George Washington University Medical Center (GW).  Prior to working at GW, she held R&D and training positions in the areas of health and productivity management, substance abuse, and mental health at the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at Cornell University and at ISA Associates.

Since 2005, McPherson has led workplace substance abuse prevention and treatment research and training programs within “Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems,” a research program at GW supported by grants from Pew Charitable Trusts, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, industry, and various Federal agencies. She also directed the Center for Integrated Behavioral Health Policy. McPherson is a board member and chair of the Knowledge Transfer and Research Committee of the Employee Assistance Society of North America (EASNA). She has presented numerous papers at leading professional meetings; has published over 30 articles, reports and book chapters; and serves as a reviewer for leading journals in workplace behavioral health, health and productivity management, and substance abuse.

Representative Projects

Integrating Adolescent Substance Abuse Screening, Brief Intervention and Treatment (SBIRT) throughout Social Work and Nursing School Education. NORC at the University of Chicago has partnered with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Center for Clinical Social (CCSW) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to engage nursing and social work schools, and their accrediting bodies, in a learning collaborative to develop and evaluate interactive, competency-based substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) curriculum. More

Web-based Training for EAP Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral (BIGAL). The purpose of this project is to develop and evaluate a training program "Rethinking Drinking for EAP and Behavioral Health Professionals" that will provide EAP practitioners and allied professionals with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to 1) routinely screen their EAP clients for alcohol use; 2) provide brief, motivational interviewing-informed counseling for those who screen positive; and 3) facilitate linkages to specialized treatment for those clients with complex clinical conditions. The alcohol SBIRT training program will be designed to increase practitioners’ rates of screening and brief intervention with clients, and to provide EAP practitioners with the screening tools and resources that they need.  More

Online Military SBIRT Training Program. NORC was awarded a grant from Diageo, the  world's leading premium drinks business, to develop a training system that meshes with the DOD/Army Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (ASBI) program that will be implemented in all 91 military health clinics worldwide in 2013 and 2014. The Army's program is designed to identify military personnel whose risky alcohol use puts them, their units and their families at much greater risk of alcohol-related problems; to provide brief counseling to help them modify their risky behavior, and linkage to treatment and ongoing supports if brief counseling is insufficient.  More

National Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Focus Area. The Institute for Research, Education, and Training in Addictions (IRETA) has been awarded a five-year National ATTC-SBIRT cooperative agreement from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  As the new National SBIRT ATTC, IRETA will become a SBIRT National Focus Area. This entails ensuring the coordination of multiple national SBIRT initiatives and producing a SBIRT suite of services to advance the adoption of SBIRT practices within systems.  The work will have a strong basis in the latest implementation science using the ATTC Network’s technology transfer model.   More

Preparing Hospitals to Screen and Treat Patients with Alcohol and Drug Use Problems. Through a SAMHSA/CSAT Technical Assistance contract, JBS International contracted with NORC, to deliver onsite technical assistance training to a select, representative sample of U.S. hospitals. Consultants will be trained in the components of SBIRT in medical and hospital settings to screen adult inpatients for issues related to alcohol consumption. Short term goals include arranging trainings for Joint Commission accredited hospitals in a small sample representative of the JC hospital population across the country.  More

See all Tracy McPherson projects


Sparks: The NORC Blog Anna Schlissel: SBIRT – A Tool Used to Identify Substance Use is Also Identifying and Helping Victims of Intimate Partner Violence More
Posted: 7.29.2016 8:40AM
Sparks: The NORC Blog Tracy McPherson: New SBIRT Tools to Address Adolescent Substance Abuse More
Posted: 3.2.2016 12:58PM


Tracy L. McPherson

(757) 427-1028