Opioid Workforce Expansion Program (OWEP)

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About OWEP

The Opioid Workforce Expansion Program is a unique fellowship opportunity for Social Work students interested in behavioral health and addictions services. Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the program is aimed at developing and expanding the behavioral health workforce by providing advanced training to students entering the fields of behavioral health and substance abuse.   

The UB School of Social Work is partnering with the UB School of Nursing and the UB Department of Counseling School Educational Psychology to provide students with opportunities to deliver integrated behavioral healthcare in their field placements. 

Also see Behavioral Health Workforce and Education Training Fellowship.


As a fellow, you will:

  • Receive an annual $10,000 stipend.
  • Internships focus on the interprofessional integration of addictions and bheavioral health treatment in a primary care setting. A pool of placements have been preselected based on Fellowship criteria and agency participation in OWEP. 
  • Receive enriched education, training and career development opportunities, focused on interprofessional development and the prevention and treatment of opioid and substance use disorder.

Who Should Apply

  • Students interested in clinical practice working in the treatment or prevention of opioid use disorder and addiction services in an integrated health setting.


To be eligible for the fellowship, you must:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time traditional or full-time advanced standing MSW student in the UB School of Social Work.
  • Be entering your advanced year field placement.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or foreign national with a visa permitting permanent residence.
  • Complete a competitive OWEP Scholars application.   


  • Maintain a full-time course load and good academic standingand fulfill predetermined requirements for your program.
  • Complete the enhanced training program on behavioral health with a focus on opioid and substance use disorder.
  • Commit to seeking employment related to behavioral health in high need and high demand areas, including rural, vulnerable, or underserved communities following graduation.
  • Commit to providing contact and employment information following graduation.
  • Complete a competitive OWEP scholars’ program application process.

Application Information

Applications can be submitted beginning February 1 and close April 1. Applicants must be a current MSW student or have an acceptance letter to the Full-time Advanced Standing MSW Program.

  1. Complete your application to the UB School of Social Work full-time MSW Program by the posted deadline.
  2. Complete the OWEP fellowship application, including a personal statement and resume by April 1.
  3. The selection committee will review applications and select candidates for interviews.
  4. Following interviews, the selection committee will identify fellowship candidates and assign placements. 
Contact Dr. Diane Elze or Dr. Laura Lewis for more information.