What are FASDs?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a range of conditions caused by prenatal alcohol exposure.  They are completely preventable if there is no alcohol exposure in utero. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one of these conditions. FASDs are one of the most common causes of developmental disability. These disabilities are permanent and life-long, but with recognition and appropriate interventions and supports, individuals with an FASD can lead long, productive, and happy lives.

Creation of the Arctic FASD Regional Training Center

In 2008 the UAA Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services (CBHRS) was awarded funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (CDC NCBDDD) to establish the Arctic FASD Regional Training Center under a cooperative agreement. This award was renewed in 2011 for a further three years. 

The Arctic FASD RTC is one of only four such regional training centers in the nation. It is dedicated to providing training and education to health and allied health care professionals and students on the prevention, diagnosis and assessment, and treatment of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

Goals of the Arctic FASD RTC

The Arctic FASD RTC aims to:

  • develop a rurally relevant and culturally competent FASD curriculum that could be disseminated throughout the state;
  • continue efforts to raise awareness and educate health and allied health care providers about FASD prevention, diagnosis, and intervention strategies.

Health and allied health care providers, and students in programs leading to these professions, play a key role in helping to prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies, as well as in the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of conditions related to prenatal alcohol exposure. By working with women who may be at risk of having an alcohol-exposed pregnancy, health and allied health care providers can contribute to lowering the rate of FASDs in Alaska.

Since its inception in October 2008, the Arctic FASD Regional Training Center has provided FASD education and training opportunities to more than 2,500 health and allied health care professionals and students in communities and agencies throughout the state of Alaska.

Collaborations

The Arctic FASD Regional Training Center works in collaboration with statewide agencies and groups such as:

  • State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health, Prevention and Early Intervention
  • State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Public Health Nursing
  • Alaska FASD Partnership (founding member)
  • Stone Soup Group
  • Alaska Child and Family
  • Anchorage Council of FASDs
  • Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education - FASD Workgroup

In recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of FASD diagnosis and assessment, as well as treatment and intervention, the Arctic FASD RTC works with a multi-disciplinary group of affiliate faculty, advisers and national consultants.