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SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence Announces New Web Site Feature, FASD in Review

October 15, 2014

This month the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) FASD Center for Excellence (CFE) is launching a new website feature, FASD in Review. This page will include a review and discussion of news, research, policy articles, and other reports addressing FASD and alcohol prevention during pregnancy. In contrast to prior summaries of research, this feature is designed to provide more analytic reviews of new information available in the context of existing research, practice, and common knowledge. The aim of this approach is to provide the reader with a more comprehensive and contextual understanding of the findings and their impact on advancing efforts to prevent and address FASD.

The feature kicks off with a review of the recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guide for implementing Screening and Brief Interventions (SBI) on: Planning and Implementing Screening and Brief Intervention for Risky Alcohol Use: A Step-by-Step Guide for Primary Care Practices.

Click here to learn more.


October Ask the Expert Features Interview with Kathy Mitchell of NOFAS

October 15, 2014

Ms. Kathleen Tavenner Mitchell

As a follow-up to our August interview with Emily Travis, past-member of the Expert Panel for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) FASD Center for Excellence (CFE) and an individual who has lived with FAS, Ask the Expert this month features an interview with Kathleen Tavenner Mitchell, Vice President and International Spokesperson for the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), and the birth mother of a daughter who was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Ms. Mitchell provides her perspective on being the parent of a child with an FASD, and on her efforts to increase awareness of FASD and of the needs of women with substance use issues.

Click here to visit this and other recent Ask the Expert columns.


FASD Center Releases Materials from International FASD Awareness Day Webinar

September 30, 2014

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) FASD Center for Excellence (CFE), in partnership with MOFAS, is pleased to announce the release of supporting materials from the free Webinar Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) #58, Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): An Introduction. This Webinar was held on September 09, 2014 to mark the 15th anniversary of International FASD Awareness Day, and drew 347 participants from across the country. The Webinar featured:

  • Dan Dubovsky, M.S.W., Content Specialist for the SAMHSA FASD CFE, who provided background information on FASD and its causes and effects;
  • Sterling K. Clarren, M.D., FAAP, Co-Chair of TIP 58 and an esteemed FASD researcher, who discussed the development of the TIP, its contents, and its potential uses to expand or improve services in existing services; and
  • Ruth Richardson, J.D., Director of Programs for the Minnesota Organization on FAS (MOFAS), who moderated the discussions and a robust question-and-answer period.

Materials from this Webinar, including the main PowerPoint presentation as well as a transcript and a video file, can be downloaded for free on its overview page. Materials from other SAMHSA FASD CFE Webinars can be accessed on our general Webinar page.


FASD Center Announces New FASD Prevention Resources

September 15, 2014

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) FASD Center for Excellence (CFE) is pleased to announce two new resources highlighting FASD prevention strategies –

  1. Planning and Implementing Screening and Brief Intervention for Risky Alcohol Use: A Step-by-Step Guide for Primary Care Practices was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. SBI entails health professionals asking patients a few short questions to identify drinking patterns, followed by a brief conversation about these patterns and referral to treatment if needed. This guide is an important tool to help primary care practices implement SBI to reduce the burden of health problems associated with excessive alcohol use.
  2. Implementing CHOICES in Clinical Settings That Serve American Indian and Alaska Native Women of Childbearing Age was developed by the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) as part of a Cooperative Agreement between CDC and NOFAS. CHOICES is a CDC-funded prevention program targeting non-pregnant women at risk of having an alcohol-exposed pregnancy. This report outlines a three-phase implementation plan to place CHOICES in clinical practices serving American Indian and Alaska Native women of childbearing age.

We encourage you to utilize and share these important resources to help make SBI and CHOICES a routine part of health care. In addition, we would like to share updated information on our FASD Prevention Programs. From 2008-2013, the SAMHSA FASD CFE funded 25 FASD prevention programs through a subcontract mechanism. The programs were funded to achieve the following goal: Decrease the incidence of FASD by eliminating alcohol consumption by pregnant and postpartum women and reducing the risk of alcohol-exposed pregnancies among women of childbearing age by implementing either SBI or CHOICES.

We invite you to review our FASD Prevention Programs for more information on each of these programs.


"Ask the Expert" Column Part of FASD Center Activities for 15th Annual FASD Awareness Day

August 29, 2014

Ms. Emily Travis

As part of a series of activities leading up to International FASD Awareness Day on September 9, 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) FASD Center for Excellence (CFE) is proud to launch a new feature of the Ask the Expert column. Emily Travis (right), a past member of the SAMHSA FASD CFE's Expert Panel, is an amazing young woman who just happens to have an FASD. She is the first author of an Ask the Expert column who has lived with an FASD, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about finding success with her disorder, and how her disability does not mean 'unable.'

Click here to read Ms. Travis' column and other recent Ask the Expert entries.

The new Ask the Expert column is just one part of the SAMHSA FASD CFE's efforts to promote FASD Awareness Day 2014. We also recently released the 2014 FASD Awareness Day flyer, which is intended as an electronic information tool that can be shared in whole--or in smaller parts via social media--to raise awareness among families, individuals, and care providers about FASD and about this special day.

Download the Flyer here.

On FASD Awareness Day, our activities will culminate with a special free Webinar, in partnership with MOFAS, on the new Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (TIP #58). The Webinar will feature Sterling K. Clarren, M.D., FAAP, an esteemed researcher and author on FASD and the co-chair of TIP 58. Information for the Webinar is below:

Free Webinar: September 9, 2014
Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm (EDT)
Web link and Toll-Free Call-In Number: Check the FASD Center for Excellence Webinar page for updates.
Download TIP 58 here.

We hope our constituents will access these resources and materials and help to promote awareness of FASD and this special day. For information about other FASD Awareness Day events and resources across the country, visit the SAMHSA FASD CFE FASD Awareness Day page. And if you utilize social media, please pass the word: #FASDay!


Tools for Success Curriculum Now Revised, Updated

July 31, 2014

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) FASD Center for Excellence (CFE) is pleased to announce the release of a revised and updated version of the curriculum Tools for Success: Working With Youth With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in the Juvenile Justice System. Originally published in 2007 as a multimedia kit that included seven modules, Tools for Success is designed for training juvenile justice professionals in the recognition and treatment of FASD in juvenile offenders.

The new version of Tools for Success has been updated to address recent science in the field of FASD, and has been made available entirely online to facilitate easier access and use. The curriculum now features an introduction followed by six modules:

  • Module 1: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): The Basics
  • Module 2: FASD-Related Behaviors and Their Implications for the Juvenile Justice System
  • Module 3: Screening, Assessment, and Diagnosis of Youth With an FASD
  • Module 4: Working Effectively With Youth With an FASD
  • Module 5: Youth With an FASD and the Juvenile Justice System Process
  • Module 6: Intervention Services: Education, Transition, and Aftercare

Each module includes post-test questions to reinforce learning, and a certificate can be personalized and printed to show successful completion of the curriculum.

Youth with an FASD are at an increased risk of getting into trouble with the law as a result of their intellectual, behavioral, and social challenges. Yet, many professionals in the system are not knowledgeable about FASD. Tools for Success provides juvenile justice system professionals--including probation workers, social workers, education professionals, police officers, detention workers, and staff in group homes, correction facilities, shelter homes, and mental health facilities--with the knowledge, skills, resources, and approaches for systems change to provide appropriate services for youth with an FASD.

Click here to visit the Tools for Success homepage.