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Study to curb alcohol-exposed pregnancies receives funding

National Institutes of Health extends approval to Sanford Research

 Jessica Hanson
 Jessica Hanson
(Sioux Falls, SD) – A Sanford Research initiative to prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies (AEP) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in American Indian communities has been granted funding of more than $800,000 by the National Institutes of Health.

Titled “Tribal collaborations in the prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies,” the three-year project will focus on non-pregnant American Indian women and will be led by Jessica D. Hanson, PhD, an assistant scientist for the Center for Health Outcomes and Prevention Research at Sanford Research.

Hanson and her team plan to use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) model. That model is currently in use with the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota as part of Project CHOICES, which--through the use of motivational interviewing and encouragement of contraception use--is focused on the prevention of AEP in non-pregnant American Indian women seen at tribal clinics. 

The study aims to implement and sustain the already successful CHOICES program, or a similar initiative, at other tribal health facilities in South Dakota. 

“We have already experienced great success with the CHOICES program in decreasing binge drinking and minimizing unintended pregnancies,” said David Pearce, PhD, vice president of Sanford Research. “Our goal now is to expand the footprint of this effective program--or something that closely mirrors it.”

The Pine Ridge Tribal Health Administration and the Rosebud Tribal Health Administration will be partners, assisting in program design, participant recruitment and data collection and analysis. Those organizations will also help develop an AEP community needs assessment to appropriately implement prevention efforts.

“This project is innovative because it focuses on pre-conceptual women rather than pregnant women,” said Hanson. “We will be able to utilize existing experiences from CHOICES to develop and expand on programs with other tribes.”

The program will be piloted and implemented at three tribal sites in South Dakota.

About Sanford Research/USD

Sanford Research/USD is a non-profit research organization formed between Sanford Health and the University of South Dakota. Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in Fargo, ND and Sioux Falls, SD and represents the largest, rural, not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation with a presence in 111 communities, eight states and three countries. In 2007, a transformational gift of $400 million by Denny Sanford provided for an expansion of children’s and research initiatives, specifically finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, and has given Sanford Research significant momentum in its goal of becoming one of the premiere research institutions in the United States and the world. Most recently, a subsequent gift of $100 million by Mr. Sanford has paved the way to establish Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research.

With a team of more than 200 researchers, Sanford Research comprises several research centers, including Children’s Health Research, Edith Sanford Breast Cancer, Cancer Biology, Cardiovascular Health, Center for Health Outcomes and Prevention, and the National Institute for Athletic Health and Performance (NIAHP).

Tim Gerszewski
Sanford Media Strategist – Sioux Falls Region
(605) 366-2432 /  
Follow me on Twitter @SanfordTimG