Monday, May 18, 2009

UAlbany Counseling Center Garners National Recognition for Best Practices in Health

The University at Albany Counseling Center recently garnered the 2009 Best Practices in College Health Award by the American College Health Association (ACHA) for its STEPS Screening and Brief Intervention Program, an initiative to identify first-year students, student-athletes, and students seeking primary health and counseling care on campus for risky alcohol use.

"This 'best practices' award is a well deserved recognition to the staff in the Counseling Center who work diligently on prevention education and intervention programs for our students," said Christine Bouchard, Vice President for Student Success. "The STEPS Program has proven success and the fact that we will be able to expand this program to reach larger populations of students is very exciting.”

Each year, the ACHA recognizes exemplary, innovative, and inspirational practices in one of four major areas of college health: clinical services, counseling services, administrative and consumer services, and health education and promotion services. The award encourages the creation of programs and student patient services that are designed to advance the health of college students.

The Counseling Center will be presented with the award on Thursday, May 28th at the ACHA Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA. The Center will also be producing a Web page describing the project and discussing the program at the ACHA Annual Meeting in 2010.

As part of the STEPS program, those students who may be at risk for dangerous alcohol use are invited to participate in a brief one-session intervention, which has been shown to lead to reductions in drinking and associated negative consequences.
The program garnered national recognition earlier this year, when the Center received a "Grand Gold Medal" for program excellence from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the largest professional student affairs organization in the United States.

During the next two years, the Counseling Center plans to expand its STEPS program, broadening the scope of the positive changes which have already been realized. For instance, since the beginning of the STEPS Program, the Counseling Center has seen a 32 percent increase in the number of students who abstain from engaging in high-risk drinking.

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