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UAA receives four-year grant to prevent FASDs and reduce risky drinking


ANCHORAGE, AK—Investigators at the University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services (CBHRS) received a four-year $1.1 million federal grant to establish a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Practice and Implementation Center (PIC) focused on developing a national approach to prevent, identify and treat FASDs, with a particular emphasis on prevention. 

UAA is one of six universities selected to receive the grant funds administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (CDC-NCBDDD). The other grantees are University of California, San Diego, University of Missouri, University of Nevada, Baylor University and University of Wisconsin-Madison. The six PICs will be partnering with other states and national partner organizations to assure national representation. The Alaska-led PIC will include experts from Alaska, Oregon and Washington.

Prenatal alcohol use is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities. The term fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) is used to define the range of physical, mental, behavioral and/or learning disabilities that can result from prenatal alcohol use.

The ultimate goal of the PICs will be to work collaboratively with health care professional organizations and policy makers at local, state and regional levels to develop and disseminate evidence-based strategies for training and improved health care practices such as: early identification, diagnosis and treatment for FASDs and effective strategies to address alcohol misuse and prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies. Preparing health care professionals to routinely screen for and intervene with women and men who engage in unhealthy alcohol use will be an important objective of the project.

"Our Northwest Arctic Practice and Implementation Center will be focusing our efforts on the nursing professions,” said Diane King, deputy director for CBHRS and project director for the grant. "Nurses are in a unique position to screen for and intervene to reduce alcohol misuse and prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies in a wide variety of settings, including primary care, public health, behavioral health and schools. Some of the other PICs will focus on physicians, social workers and allied health professions, and then we will collectively work together to advance best practices regionally and nationally.”

Alaska has been at the forefront of FASD training and prevention to address alcohol misuse at a policy and health systems level. CBHRS has a long history of working on the issue of FASDs and alcohol misuse through its Arctic FASD Regional Training Center, also funded through CDC-NCBDDD.

CONTACT: Dr. Diane King, Deputy Director of Research, UAA Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services
907-786-1638 | dkking@uaa.alaska.edu


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