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Center for Health Policy Team Publishes

Director of the Master of Health Science Program Tedd McDonald, researcher Sandina Begic and former graduate research assistant Elsa Howard, all of the Center of Health Policy (CHP), had a paper published in the American Journal of Applied Psychology.

The paper, titled “Adults’ Alcohol Consumption Behavior and Support for Restrictions on Youth-Oriented Alcohol Advertisements,” looks at the relationship between the frequency of alcohol consumption in adults and their support for restrictions on youth-oriented alcohol advertising. Seven hundred and sixty-seven adult Idahoans took a survey that asked about a variety of perceptions related to underage drinking, including whether they supported five types of restrictions on youth-oriented alcohol advertisements. Researchers noted that: “Significant differences in adults’ levels of support for all five types of advertising restriction were also revealed as a function of frequency with which adults consumed alcoholic beverages.” In other words, the more frequently adults consumed alcohol the less likely they were to support the restrictions.

In addition to publishing a paper, the CHP team also submitted two research reports to the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections. The “Year Five Assessment of the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections’ Clinical Services Program” report is about the Clinical Services Program, which was started as an IDJC pilot program in 2008. The program places mental health clinicians in each of the 12 juvenile detention centers in Idaho and empowers the clinicians to screen detained juveniles for mental health and substance abuse problems. The clinicians then recommend services in the community for juveniles when they are released. The report evaluated the program over the five-year period from 2008-2012, relying on data from 1,481 detained juveniles and on surveys of parents, judges, and juvenile parole officers. The report concludes that the Clinical Services Program is highly effective in accomplishing what it is intended to do, in that clinicians are clearly identifying detained juveniles who are struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse problems. The report ends with a call for increased investment in family and community health service interventions in order to prevent youths from entering the juvenile justice system.

The second research report, submitted by Howard and McDonald is titled “Stakeholders’ Perceptions of the Disproportionate Minority Contact Project in Canyon County, Idaho.” The report evaluated, from stakeholders’ perspectives, efforts to reduce disproportionate minority contact and to reduce gang affiliation in Canyon County. The report’s background was a 2009 finding that Hispanic youths experienced disproportionate contact with the juvenile justice system in Canyon County compared with white youths, but that the most significant predictor was not race or ethnicity but rather gang affiliation, which was higher for Hispanic youths than for white youths. The report used interviews with stakeholders (law enforcement officers and legal personnel) to assess their perceptions of disproportionate minority contact reduction efforts since 2009. The report found that most of the interviewed stakeholders viewed the project positively, although many were not well informed as to the details of the project.