217298 Underage Drinking Town Hall Meetings: Lessons Learned from Three Nationwide Series

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gwyndolyn Ensley, MEd , Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD
William Beard , samhsa/csap Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiative, ICF Macro International, Inc., Rockville, MD
Payal Pandit , SAMHSA Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives, University Research Co, LLC, Rockville, MD
In 2005, in response to the Institute of Medicine's 2004 Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility, SAMHSA/CSAP convened a National Meeting of the States on Underage Drinking and followed up in Spring 2006 with a nationally-coordinated series of more than 1,500 local Town Hall Meetings on the issue, to increase public awareness, mobilize citizen participation in prevention efforts, garner support from decision makers, foster collaboration, and attract media attention. Participant feedback was very positive. In 2008, SAMHSA/CSAP coordinated a second round of Town Halls, increasing the total by 30 percent, and providing a mechanism for promulgating The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking (March 2007). Host organization feedback was highly favorable to the project again, showing these events to be effective in expanding the capacity of communities to combat adolescent alcohol use. In 2008, more youth-led Town Halls and more Spanish-language events took place. Announcement of a third round of SAMHSA/CSAP coordinated Town Halls for the Spring of 2010 received an enthusiastic response from States, communities, and several National partner organizations. Final reports from 2006 and 2008 and a draft of preliminary findings from the 2010 Town Halls show that these events can increase community involvement in underage drinking prevention, attract citizen support, foster partnerships, support new and existing policies regarding underage drinking, increase media attention to the issue, and deliver science-based information and prevention messages to youth themselves and those with significant influence on their behavior.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify benefits community-based organizations realize from hosting these events; 2. Compare outcomes from 3 separatate nationawide Town Hall meeting initiatives, based on feedback from from community-based host oranizations; 3. Describe media support for underage drinking prevention gained through Town Hall Meetings.

Keywords: Alcohol Use, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I serve as the Project Director for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives contract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.