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Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

STUDENT HEALTH CENTER WINS $220,000 GRANT FOR ALCOHOL PROJECT
Thursday, December 15, 2011

Greg Kang and Kellyann Green

Orange Coast College's Student Health Center is launching an alcohol intervention project using a $220,000 grant from the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Greg Kang and Kellyann Green, health educators from local state universities, will coordinate a campus-wide survey to examine drinking behaviors of OCC students. Kang is studying public health at Long Beach State, and Green is enrolled at Cal State Fullerton.

Similar projects have studied students at four-year universities, but not much is known about students enrolled in community colleges, according to Associate Dean of Student Health Services Sylvia Worden. "No one really knows about alcohol use in community college. We expect to find out a lot," she said. "Our students don't live in dorms and don't participate in the Greek system. It's very different."

Previous data indicates that community college students drink less, but have worse outcomes than students at four-year colleges, Worden reported. Incidents involving "driving under the influence" (DUI) are a major concern.

Two years ago, the OCC Health Center joined Alcohol e-Checkup to Go (http://tinyurl.com/OCC-electronic-checkup), an alcohol education website designed by the San Diego State University Research Foundation. The data collected over the past two years helped OCC to win funding for the current grant, which started December 1st, Worden said.

OCC's grant is patterned after the 2003-2006 Safer California Universities study that involved 14 universities, including eight University of California and six state university campuses. That study, an ongoing effort involving UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach, collected data and then introduced environmental prevention strategies that reduced the incidence and likelihood of intoxication among college students.

The Health Center is setting up an advisory committee that will meet four times this spring to oversee the grant. An April town hall-style meeting and a "Safe Spring Break" are also in the planning stages. Anyone is interested in serving on the advisory committee should contact Worden at (714) 432-5026.