Key DFM Personnel

Georgiana Wilton, PhD – Principal Investigator
Kristi Obmascher, BS – Prevention Manager
Lyric Dold, MA, MS, LPC – Interventionist
Angela Cappas-Awes, BS – Research Specialist

Funding

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Partners

UW Departments of Family Medicine and Population Health,
State of Wisconsin – nine-county region – Dane, Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha

Background

Alcohol use during pregnancy is a leading, preventable cause of mental retardation in the United States. Maternal use can result in a range of permanent physical, cognitive, and/or behavioral problems. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is the umbrella term used to describe these effects. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most recognizable condition with symptoms including cognitive impairments, intrauterine and/or ongoing growth retardation, and specific measurable facial features.

Goals

  1. Increase awareness and provide education about the risks of alcohol use during pregnancy;
  2. Conduct a nine-county fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) surveillance initiative;
  3. Prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies via brief counseling with women of childbearing age before they become pregnant; and
  4. Identify/ assess children at risk for FASD and link them to appropriate services.

Methods

1) Community Intervention: to raise awareness, provide education, and conduct outreach about FASD for health and human services providers, educators, students, families affected by FASD.

2) Individual Intervention: to identify women at-risk of giving birth to a child with FASD (e.g., at-risk drinking, no contraception use). The efficacy of a brief intervention model is being tested with the goal of reducing alcohol consumption and/or increasing contraception use among women at risk.

3) Identification and Assessment of children at risk for FASD: with the Family Empowerment Network (FEN) to identify children at risk of FASD, provide referral to diagnostic services, and support children diagnosed with FASD and their families.

4) FAS Surveillance: As a bona fide agent of the State of Wisconsin, the project is implementing a surveillance protocol to identify children who meet a case definition for FAS.

For more information please check out our “Pregnancy and Alcohol” Web site for women with questions about alcohol, pregnancy and prevention.