Championing Social Workers in the Fight Against Problem Gambling: UC Leads the Way

The University of Cincinnati Bachelor of Social Work program is taking a bold step in addressing the growing issue of problem gambling, not just in Ohio, but across the nation. With the support of a grant from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and fueled by the dedication of Dr. Gregory Stewart and his co-investigators, Drs. Wayne Kinney and James Pease, the Problem Gambling Coalition of Southwest Ohio is spearheading an initiative to equip social workers with the knowledge and skills to prevent and treat gambling disorders.

This initiative recognizes the crucial role social workers play in our communities. They are on the front lines, interacting with individuals and families who may be struggling with problem gambling, often unaware of the hidden depths of their addiction. By equipping social workers with the proper training, the Coalition and UC program aims to create a network of trained professionals who can effectively identify, intervene, and support individuals experiencing gambling-related issues.


SW OH Coalition Feb 2024
SW OH Coalition Feb 2024

The Multi-Pronged Approach:

The initiative boasts a comprehensive approach that tackles the problem from multiple angles:

  • Public Awareness: Increasing public understanding of problem gambling and available resources is crucial for early intervention. The program aims to educate communities about the dangers of gambling and promote awareness of treatment options.
  • Healthcare Integration: Encouraging healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling is essential for early detection. The program provides training for healthcare professionals on how to identify and address gambling concerns during routine appointments.
  • Social Worker Workforce Development: At the heart of the initiative lies the training of social workers. The UC Online program is offering a new course, “Introduction to Problem Gambling, Suicide and Substance Misuse Prevention,” which equips students and alumni with the knowledge and skills to provide effective prevention and treatment services. This course specifically delves into the SAMHSA Strategic Prevention Framework, a proven approach to reducing risk behaviors and promoting resilience.
  • Prevention Credentialization: Recognizing the importance of specialized skills, the program assists students in earning prevention credentials, empowering them to become certified professionals in Ohio.
  • Advocacy: The initiative goes beyond training by advocating for systemic change. It pushes for the creation of problem gambling treatment fellowships for social workers and urges colleges to prepare their students for the challenges of gambling addiction.

The coalition’s initiative is a beacon of hope for those struggling with problem gambling and their families. By equipping social workers with the necessary tools and knowledge, the program empowers them to become agents of change in their communities. This not only benefits individuals with gambling disorders but also strengthens the fabric of our society.

Join the Movement:

The fight against problem gambling requires a collective effort, and the University of Cincinnati, both on-campus and online, offers a new elective course, “Introduction to Problem Gambling, Suicide and Substance Misuse Prevention”.

This course uses the SAMHSA Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), a five-step process used to help states and communities reduce risk-taking behaviors, promote resilience, and prevent problem behaviors in individuals and families across the lifespan. This prevention course is offered as a workforce development pathway for social workers who want to earn a prevention credential in Ohio including Registered Applicant (RA) and OCPSA.  Forty-five (45) hours of prevention education in the specified foundations and domains; 9 of those hours will be alcohol and other drug (AOD) primary prevention specific. Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) will be incorporated into this class.

It is offered as an asynchronous course, but there will be three meetings in the 7-week session: Week 1, 3 and 7, on Tuesday at 7:30pm-9pm EST (90 minutes).

Whether you’re a social work student, an established professional, or an individual passionate about community wellbeing, enrolling in this course empowers you to become a changemaker.

Outcomes of the Course:

  • Gain Knowledge: Equip yourself with the SAMHSA Strategic Prevention Framework, a powerful tool for understanding and addressing risk factors, promoting resilience, and preventing problem behaviors.
  • Develop Skills: Learn to collaborate effectively with stakeholders in your community, plan, implement, and evaluate prevention activities. This course hones your ability to work within a community setting for greater impact.
  • Earn Credentials: Take advantage of the course’s guidance towards Ohio’s Prevention Registered Applicant credential, enabling you to promote problem gambling prevention in a professional capacity.
  • Support Others: By gaining essential knowledge and skills, you’ll be better equipped to identify and support individuals struggling with problem gambling, suicide, or substance misuse. You can become a beacon of hope for those in need.
  • Advocate for Change: Utilize your newfound understanding to advocate for policies and initiatives that prioritize mental health resources and gambling disorder prevention in your community.

This opportunity is unique to UC and UC Online students and positions you as a leader in the fight against problem gambling. It’s your chance to delve deeper into a specific area of interest and gain valuable skills that will set you apart in your social work career.

Field Placement Opportunity:

This isn’t just a class; it’s a launchpad for practical experience. Upon successful completion, students can be placed in an agency for 100 hours to fulfill requirements for the Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist Assistant credential. Imagine applying your learnings directly, contributing to prevention efforts in suicide, substance misuse, or, of course, problem gambling.

If you’re particularly passionate about tackling this specific issue, the course is your bridge to becoming a certified advocate. By meeting additional requirements, you can earn the Ohio Certified Prevention Registered Applicant credential specifically for promoting problem gambling prevention. Picture dedicating your expertise to making a tangible difference in people’s lives.

Your commitment to growth doesn’t have to end with the course. UC understands the value of staying ahead of the curve, and there’s a chance they may even assist with the re-certification costs for your prevention credentials. That’s right, ongoing support to ensure your impact remains effective and relevant.

Enroll in the SW 3045 course: “Introduction to Problem Gambling, Suicide and Substance Misuse Prevention”,  this Summer term and unleash your potential as a prevention champion. Join a network of dedicated individuals making a real difference in their communities.

Contact us today to learn more about the course and how you can contribute to this critical movement.

Student Spotlights and Achievements:

The Coalition’s program isn’t just training the next generation of social workers; it’s cultivating a force for positive change. Within its ranks stand exceptional students like Gabrielle Bradley, Madison Noble and Nancy Eyman, pioneers in the battle against problem gambling.

Gabrielle, Problem Gambling Coalition member.
Gabrielle Bradley

Meet Gabrielle Bradley: Gabrielle Bradley (Columbus, Ohio, Franklin County) earned an associate of applied science in human services degree from Columbus State Community College in 2021. She is enrolled in the bachelor’s program for social work at the University of Cincinnati graduating in August 2024. Gabrielle is an Ohio Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC II) and working toward earning the Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist Assistant (OCPSA) and Ohio Gambling Disorder Endorsement.




Madison, Problem Gambling Coalition member.
Madison Noble


Meet Madison Noble: This Prevention Registered Applicant and founding member of the Problem Gambling Prevention and Treatment Coalition of SW OH isn’t just a student – she’s a driving force. Madison exemplifies the program’s commitment to public awareness, actively participating in organizations like the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio and the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation. Her dedication is an inspiration to her peers and a testament to the program’s impact.




Nancy, Problem Gambling Coalition member.
Nancy Eyman

Meet Nancy Eyman’s: Her story embodies the program’s emphasis on lifelong learning and community service. With a BS in Education and a Paralegal Certificate under her belt, Nancy pursues a social work degree while concurrently completing requirements for Substance Abuse Counseling Certification and Ohio Prevention Registered Applicant. Nancy’s passion for helping others shines through, proving that age is just a number when it comes to making a difference.[S(2]




These are just three shining examples of the remarkable students shaping the future of problem gambling prevention through UC. For more inspiring stories, visit the program’s website.

The Problem Gambling Prevention and Treatment Coalition of SW OH, spearheaded by faculty at UC School of Social Work, boasts an impressive track record of accomplishments. From advocating for social worker training in gambling prevention to securing grants for research and education, the coalition’s impact is undeniable.

Discover the full scope of the coalition’s achievements and ongoing initiatives here.

The stories of students like Madison and Nancy, coupled with the coalition’s impressive achievements, paint a clear picture: UC Bachelor of Social Work program is preparing professionals, and it’s shaping a future where problem gambling is recognized, addressed, and ultimately prevented.

Whether you are a social worker, a healthcare professional, or simply someone concerned about the impact of problem gambling, there are ways to get involved. Spread awareness, advocate for change, and support initiatives like the UC program that are leading the charge in combatting this critical issue.

Contact us or visit the online BSW program website for more information and take the first step toward making a real difference. Together, we can create a future free from the devastating impacts of problem gambling.

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