Going the Distance:
CHI Health Hosts Training on Preventing Excessive Alcohol Use
In September, Project Extra Mile partnered with CHI Health to train family medicine residents on the increasingly negative impact of excessive alcohol use on Nebraska communities, as well as several opportunities for their involvement in the coalition’s efforts. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and Nebraska ranks among the worst states in the country for several alcohol-related problems, including binge drinking and self-reported drunk driving.
The voices of medical professionals are vital in promoting evidence-based policies at all levels of decision-making, including at local, state, national, and institutional levels, to promote the health and safety of their patients and the community. Physicians and other health care providers can play a crucial role in sustaining a strong public health focus on preventing alcohol-related harms in their communities.
During the training, Lincoln City Council Chair James Michael Bowers discussed the importance of health providers’ involvement in advocacy and noted that physicians can make a difference by bringing credible information to health-related policy discussions.
“When you speak people listen. Your credential is powerful, and your words carry weight,” Bowers said.
Dr. Michael Greene, MD, director of the family medicine residency program and associate professor at Creighton University School of Medicine, shared an overview of alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI). Several decades of research has shown it is an effective strategy to reduce excessive alcohol use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The prevalence of alcohol problems is high in the patient population we serve, and the best time to manage these problems is not in the hospital,” said Dr. Greene.
He noted that preventing alcohol and other drug misuse can be addressed as other chronic conditions are in the clinical setting. Screening patients for alcohol use is important in identifying and preventing potential health problems. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends SBI for all adults being seen in primary health care settings, and the Community Preventive Services Task Force supports e-SBI using electronic devices such as computers, telephones, or mobile devices to deliver screening and brief interventions.