UNE faculty, staff, and students showcase substance use-related work at public health meeting in Philadelphia

Titilola Balogun presented on substance use behaviors among Maine youth
Titilola Balogun presented on substance use behaviors among Maine youth

Center for Excellence in Public Health (CEPH) and Graduate Programs in Public Health (GPPH) staff, faculty, and students presented their work recently at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

Heather Doran, M.S, research associate for CEPH, and Megan Hawkes of Public Consulting Group, Inc., gave a talk, titled “Meaningful reporting in substance use prevention: Bi-directional data collection and reporting meeting the needs of community partners and funding sources.”

The talk centered on how CEPH developed programs and financial tools for community health coalitions to monitor activities aimed at preventing youth and young adult substance use and misuse in Maine.

The data collected by these tools greatly benefited for both UNE and the health coalitions by informing quality improvement, educating the community, facilitating grant management, and leveraging additional funding.

Since 2016, CEPH has held the contract with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to manage substance use prevention services for the state.

Toho Soma, M.P.H., senior research associate for CEPH; Doreen Fournier, M.S.W., program manager of Maine Substance Use Prevention Services; Rebecca Ireland, PS-C, program coordinator for CEPH; and Lu’Ann Thibeau of CEPH, also contributed to the work.

Soma; Titilola Balogun, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Dr.PH., assistant director of Public Health Practice for GPPH; Liam O’Brien, Ph.D., GPPH adjunct faculty and associate professor of statistics at Colby College; Tiffany Corvino, B.S. ’18 (Public Health); and Reid Plimpton, M.P.H., formerly of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, presented their work on youth substance use.

Their poster, titled “Substance use behaviors among Maine high school students: Do parents' perceptions matter?,” summarized secondary data analysis from the 2017 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey.

They found that negative parental perceptions of drug and alcohol use were not enough to deter substance use among high school students, and therefore health interventions should incorporate educating parents on how to set clear rules about drug and alcohol use.

The findings are preliminary, and further research is needed to investigate how the transition from perception to rule-setting around substance use impacts behavior.

The work was funded by a mini grant from UNE’s Office of Sponsored Programs.

Megan Hawkes and Heather Doran presented on reporting in substance use prevention
Megan Hawkes and Heather Doran presented on reporting in substance use prevention

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