The Addiction Social Work Fellowship program strives for excellence in clinical training, scholarship, research, and advocacy. The program includes specialty training in inpatient and outpatient addiction services, as well as related concurrent disorders training. The program prepares Fellows to work clinically in the field of addictions and take leadership roles in academic and/or research settings.

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New social work trainees are accepted into the program each year from a range of backgrounds. The program runs one year part-time from July 1 to June 30, or may be completed over six months full-time.

We're pleased to offer Fellowship opportunities with focused clinical rotations in the Interior, Vancouver Island (primarily in Victoria), Fraser Health, and the lower mainland of Vancouver. Applicants should indicate their preferred location in their letter of intent, along with a brief summary of why they would be a good fit.

Fellowship Overview

  • The program encourages learning experiences across the continuum of substance use care in a variety of settings, including inpatient, outpatient, withdrawal management, recovery oriented systems of care, concurrent disorders, innovative practice, harm reduction, and research.
  • Addiction Social Work Fellows are also encouraged to enhance their understanding of best practice approaches to working with a wide range of populations including Indigenous people, youth, women, and LGBTQ communities, for example. Social workers have the opportunity to integrate social justice practice with evidence-based approaches to substance use care.
  • There is flexibility in rotations based on experience and individual learning objectives.
  • The program also supports didactic learning experiences through a two-week academic block, interdisciplinary academic half-days, journal clubs, research and presentation skills development, and clinical skills workshops.
  • Each Fellow’s rotations are tailored to learning objectives that are set with the Program Director. Practice competencies include: understanding substance use, assessment, treatment and intervention planning, counseling, referral, service coordination, education, group work, documentation, and inter-professional work.
  • A description of the training rotations can be found below.


Fellows must hold a minimum of a Master of Social Work degree and be registered and in good standing with the British Columbia College of Social Work.


Addiction Social Work Fellows will gain experience providing addiction care in hospital settings. Social work within these settings involves conducting assessments, motivational interviewing, counseling, liaising with nurses and physicians regarding addiction treatment coordination, connection to community supports, and follow-up treatment recommendations.
Addiction Social Work Fellows will spend time working in inpatient and outpatient detoxification services. Within these settings social workers will be exposed to a full spectrum of withdrawal management. This will include provision of counseling, facilitating groups, service coordination, and treatment planning, as well as connection to follow-up treatment and supports.
Addiction Social Work Fellows will have the opportunity to work in primary care settings providing assessment and treatment to clients with substance use disorders. Social workers will work within interdisciplinary care teams in these clinics to provide one-on-one and group counseling, facilitate education with clients and staff, assist in treatment planning, and coordinate referrals and connections to other services and supports in the community.
Addiction Social Work Fellows will be exposed to residential treatment centres, second stage recovery housing, and therapeutic communities. Social workers will gain an understanding of differing models of residential treatment and what is involved in social work practice in these settings. Within these, fellows will gain experience with one-on-one and group counseling, facilitating educational sessions, and aftercare planning.
Addiction Social Work Fellows will gain experience working in settings that specifically serve clients with concurrent disorders. This may involve inpatient and/or outpatient experiences working within an interdisciplinary care team. Within these settings social workers will conduct assessments, provide counseling, engage in intervention and treatment planning, and coordinate connection to other services and supports in the community.
Addiction Social Work Fellows will spend time working within organizations that provide care and services to specific population groups such as women, youth, First Nations people, and people living with HIV. These opportunities will be chosen based on the experience and interest of individual fellows and may include a wide range of practice experiences.


Application Timeline for the 2024-2025 Addiction Social Work Fellowship:

  • September 4, 2023: Application process opens
  • December 4, 2023: Application deadline
  • January 2 – 22 2024: Interview period
  • February 22, 2024: Acceptance notification
  • March 1, 2024: Deadline for acceptance of offer by applicant
  • July 2, 2024: Fellowship begins

Please note: While the Fellowship is envisioned to begin July 2, 2024, there may be some flexibility with the start date, particularly for applicants who bring their own funding.

Application Details
Interested candidates must submit an electronic copy of the following documentation:

  1. A total of two letters of reference
  2. One letter of reference should be from the applicant’s manager or supervisor and outline employer/organizational support for the applicant to complete the fellowship program
  3. A 700-word letter of intent describing:
    • The applicant’s background,
    • The applicant’s preparation for the Fellowship,
    • Why they are interested in a career in addiction social work, and
    • The ways the applicant imagines their experience as a Fellow will allow them to have impact within the substance use system of care.
  4. A curriculum vitae

Note: It is the applicants responsibility ensure that their manager(s) and director(s) support their participation in the Addiction Social Work Fellowship.

Please send an electronic copy of all application materials to [email protected].

Interviews may be conducted with top candidates from each discipline shortly after the application deadline. Interviews may be in person, on the phone, or via Zoom.

General Inquiries

For further information about this Fellowship program, please contact us at [email protected].


Past Addiction Social Work Fellows are below.














Jessica Mensinger, MSW, RSW, Co-Director, BCCSU Addiction Social Work Fellowship Program

Alexandra Rothenberg, MSW, RSW, Co-Director BCCSU Addiction Social Work Fellowship Program


providence-healthcare-logoSt. Paul’s Hospital at Providence Health Care is an acute care, academic, and research hospital located in downtown Vancouver. With over 500 acute care beds in use and home to many world-leading medical and surgical programs, the hospital serves both the local community and patients from across BC. Its downtown location brings many of Vancouver’s tourists and visitors to its doors. St. Paul’s also has a longstanding history of providing care to disadvantaged populations. For more information about St. Paul’s Hospital, please click here.

logo-webThe BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) is a provincially networked resource with a mandate to develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based approaches to substance use and addiction. The BCCSU focuses on three strategic areas: research and evaluation, education and training, and clinical care guidance. With the support of the province of British Columbia, the BCCSU hosts the largest interdisciplinary addiction medicine training program in North America, building capacity in the healthcare system in BC to improve access to evidence-based care. Although physically located in Vancouver, the BCCSU is a provincially networked resource for researchers, educators, and care providers, as well as people who use substances, family advocates, support groups, and the recovery community.

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spf-logoSt. Paul’s Foundation raises funds to support compassionate world-class care, research, and teaching at St. Paul’s Hospital. The BCCSU Addiction Medicine Fellowship is a partnership between St. Paul’s Foundation, St. Paul’s Hospital, the BC Centre on Substance Use, and the UBC Division of AIDS. The program was launched with a $3 million landmark donation to St. Paul’s Foundation, gifted by Goldcorp, Inc. The Foundation continues to secure additional funding to support the program. For more information, or to donate, please click here.

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