UH Alcohol Prevention Program Earns National Honors

The University of Houston is home to many award-winning academic programs and noted research projects. It's also the site of a nationally recognized program designed to curtail reckless student drinking.

The UH Wellness comprehensive alcohol prevention program is among the country's best according to the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) and National Prevention Network (NPN). Recently, UH was among the institutions that received the NASADAD/NPN 2009 National Exemplary Award for Innovative Substance Abuse Prevention Programs, Practices, and Policies.

The award recognizes results-driven substance prevention programs that may be replicated at other institutions.

A primary focus of UH's program is Intent and Motivation: Alcohol Group Exercise (IMAGE), which provides informational sessions to student groups including fraternities, sororities, athletes and residential students. Session content includes details of alcohol consumption at UH, and participants are asked to select self-protective behaviors (abstinence from alcohol, prioritizing studying over drinking, drinking less) to incorporate into their lifestyles.

A recent evaluation of IMAGE revealed that student participants statistically were more likely to drink less or not drink at all and less likely to experience negative outcomes caused by drinking.

"This program is focused on giving feedback to students within their cohort groups and letting them decide what to do with it," said Gail Gillan, director of UH Wellness. "We have found the discussions to be positive and the students to be overwhelmingly responsive."

As part of the NASADAD/NPN National Exemplary Award, UH Wellness will receive a stipend to assist in its substance prevention efforts.

The award is the latest accolade for UH Wellness' alcohol prevention program, which has received honors and funding from the U.S. Department of Education and the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission.

"UH is an exceptional institution, with exceptional students.  We are proud to provide positive leadership that is leading to healthier choices and a safer learning environment," Gillan said.

UH Wellness, located in room 35 of the University Center (Arbor level) and  room 1038 of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, offers campus-wide education and prevention programs related to social, occupational, spiritual, intellectual, physical and social wellness. It offers workshops and speakers on wellness topics and supports a peer education program including academic credit and certification options. UH Wellness also enhances student learning by serving as a resource for wellness information. To learn more about the center, visit http://las.uh.edu/wc/

For more information about UH, visit the university's Newsroom at www.uh.edu/newsroom.