Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Biomedical Sciences (M.H.S.)

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Debra Burg

Academic Year



The Universal Evaluation Tool is an intuitive self-assessment instrument to enhance long-term treatment outcomes for Guiding Light’s residential addiction rehabilitation program. Designed as a versatile method for collecting primary data, the Universal Evaluation Tool can be administered to clients at any point during the recovery program (i.e., intake to discharge). The data collected from the survey can be used as a framework to guide treatment decisions, develop personalized care plans, offer insight into a client’s progress, and collect baseline data (e.g., sociodemographic characteristics) on a treatment population for use in grant applications.

A pilot study to generate preliminary data was conducted across a three-month period when the Universal Evaluation Tool was first implemented at Guiding Light. The survey was administered multiple times to clients in Guiding Light’s residential treatment program to systematically collect data during the winter months of 2016. Results from 20 completed surveys were analyzed for preliminary data to validate the survey instrument (i.e., questionnaire) and feasibility of the research protocol. The information gathered from this initial cluster of surveys provides empirical support for the Universal Evaluation Tool as a validated measure (i.e., produces reliable and accurate data) and advocates for its continued use at Guiding Light. Moreover, information gathered during the pilot study offers preliminary evidence suggesting that the Universal Evaluation Tool may be implemented as a framework to enhance long-term treatment outcomes for clients with substance use disorder.


The realization of this project required help from many people and would not have been possible without all those who contributed to its undertaking. Dr. Debra Burg, assistance in facilitating the developmental process of a nontraditional research topic as well as a dedication to the finalization of this project. The staff and residents at Guiding Light Recovery for providing the testing environment as well as the resources for collecting data. Brian Elve, the executive director of Guiding Light, serving as my liaison at the facility and access to previously collected data.