UH Wellness Awarded Model Program Status by DOE

The U.S. Department of Education has recognized the efforts of University of Houston Wellness by awarding an $189,000 model program grant for two years through 2012. UH is one of five awardees across the nation to be selected in the Models of Exemplary, Effective, and Promising Alcohol or Other Drug Abuse Prevention Programs on College Campuses Grant Program.

The other awardees are the University of Central Florida, University of Nebraska, University of Missouri and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"To be in such great company with the other awardees, who are well-respected in the prevention field, is humbling," said Gaylyn Maurer, UH Wellness outreach counselor and co-principal investigator for the grant. "We are proud to have brought such national recognition to the University of Houston."

This recognition is a result of the comprehensive UH alcohol prevention program, which is  theory-driven and research-based, and implements strategies from 2002 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Task Force recommendations. To be considered for the competition, a program was required to have supporting data for at least two years, and be able to demonstrate an impact upon alcohol use frequency and quantity, negative alcohol-related consequences, and/or risk factors.  Data generated by the UH Wellness program has shown a reduction in selected negative consequences and an increase in abstinence rates, particularly among underage students. 

One component of the program, Intent and Motivation: Alcohol Group Exercise (IMAGE), has resulted in implementation of self-protective behaviors consistently among high-risk groups (Greek life, student athletes, residents) from January 2006 to date. Results indicated students who attended a session were statistically more likely to consume fewer drinks per week, drink fewer times per month and experience fewer negative consequences than those who did not.

This is not the first national honor to be bestowed upon the UH alcohol prevention effort. The IMAGE program was awarded Promising status in the 2008 Model Program grant competition, and was also designated as an exemplary program by the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors in 2009.

Staff reports