Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are one of the largest health concerns and health disparities in the arctic and subarctic regions of the United States, despite repeated and remarkable prevention and intervention effort by various federal, state, and community institutions and agencies.
In 2008 the UAA Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services (CBHRS) was awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish the Arctic FASD Regional Training Center. The Arctic FASD RTC aimed to develop a rurally relevant and culturally competent FASD curriculum that could be disseminated throughout the state. In addition, the Arctic FASD RTC would help continue efforts to raise awareness and educate health and allied health care providers about FASD prevention, diagnosis, and intervention strategies.
In late 2011, CBHRS was once again was awarded a highly competitive grant from the CDC to continue the work of the Arctic Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Regional Training Center (Arctic FASD RTC). Under the direction of Dr. Christiane Brems, the Arctic FASD RTC has received funding for an additional three years and will continue its work through Sept. 30, 2014.
The Arctic FASD RTC is one of only four such regional training centers in the nation 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).
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. 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.
The Arctic FASD Regional Training Center works in close collaboration with statewide agencies such as the State of Alaska Division of Behavioral Health Prevention and Early Intervention Programs, the Alaska FASD Partnership, Stone Soup Group and Alaska Children's Services. 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 cadre of affiliate faculty, advisors and national consultants.