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Health and Human Services professionals work to meet the needs of their communities, including the health and well being of individuals and families and assistance with social services. 

As of August 2020, there are 1050 health and human service related job openings in Colorado. The state is projecting an expected growth of 12 percent by 2021 as a growing elderly population and rising demand for social services are expected to drive demand for these workers. 

MSU Denver Skills Lab training could potentially lead to positions like counselors, caseworkers, social workers, public health administrators, community service managers, and more. 

Faculty-Led Skills Lab

Skills Lab Name
Learning Objectives
Client Interviewing and Therapeutic Communication
  • Identify goals of interviewing
  • Define components of communication
  • Differentiate factors that support and impede effective communication
  • Implement communication skills such active listening, reflecting, affirming and summarizing
  • Examine non-therapeutic interventions
  • Identify elements for a succesful 'difficult' conversation
  Patrick Griswold
Introduction to Motivational Interviewing
  • Identify the basic principles of Motivational Interviewing (MI) 
  • Describe the “Stages of Change” and appropriate therapeutic interventions for each stage
  • Implement MI techniques when working with clients in health settings
  • Development a new concept of resistance that will minimize the effect of ambivalence
  Patrick Griswold


Understanding and Treating Addictive Disorders
  • Describe the continuum of substance use
  • Compare and contrast etiological models of substance use disorders
  • Identify diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders
  • Evaluate interventions for addressing substance use disorders and make appropriate referrals
  • Implement screening tools for assessing potential substance use disorders
  Patrick Griswold


Introduction to the Pharmacology of Addiction and Mental Health 
  • Define key pharmacology terms (e.g. withdrawal, tolerance, half-life, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics)
  • Identify the routes of transmission of substances
  • Explain the impact of substances on brain anatomy and chemistry
  • Discuss the role of neurotransmitters in the development and maintenance of addictive and mental health disorders
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of medications for the treatment of substance use and mental health disorders
  Patrick Griswold
Understanding and Working Within HIPAA
  • Understand the purpose and scope of HIPAA
  • Be familiar withthe shared language when discussing HIPAA and patient privacy
  • Give concrete examples of how to protect patient privacyin a workplace setting
  Mari Foster
Patient Navigation and Care   Coordination
  • Describe the primary role of a Patient Navigator, and how it differs from other members of a care team
  • Learn the basic skills around Motivational Interviewing & effective patient engagement strategies
  • Create a self-care plan to avoid compassion fatigue in the workplace
  Mari Foster
Mental Health First Aid
  • Identify signs of common mental health concerns in individuals
  • Use the Mental Health First Aid Action Plan to determine appropriate supportive action
  Mari Foster



Industry-Led Training

The History of Public Health by Johns Hopkins University Provides a broad outline of the historical context and development of public health. Assesses the various challenging hazards to health throughout history. 
Introduction Online Course for Patient Safety and Research A series of free online courses were broadcasted for health care professionals and researchers interested in learning the basic components of patient safety research.



Becoming a Safe Injection Champion

The training is designed to increase knowledge and enhance competency of injection safety practices in healthcare settings. Content is derived from research, best practice literature and documented outbreaks. After completion of the program, the participant is expected to educate and monitor other personnel at their health care facility of injection safety best practices.


Good Decision Making in Real Time: Public Health Ethics for Local Health Officials

This training on the basics of public health ethics and the process of ethical analysis, describes tools and resources for addressing ethical challenges that commonly arise in the practice of public health. The course also explores the complementary nature of public health law and public health ethics, reviews approaches to implementing public health ethics in health departments, and presents a case study to illustrate the steps of applying an ethical analysis to a real-life case scenario.


Lead Exposure Pathways and Mitigation of its Effects

This training presentation is designed to increase primary care providers’ and other health professional’s knowledge of hazardous substances in the environment and to aid in the evaluation of potentially exposed patients. 



If you have any questions, please e-mail Kerra Jones at

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