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Idaho Universities Collaborate for a Common Community Goal: Student Health

Studio portrait of Lauren Baines.

Lauren Baines, health educator for Boise State University Health Services, and Doug Steele, dean of students for Lewis and Clark State College, graduated from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)’s 26th National Leadership Forum, on Feb. 2  just outside of Washington, D.C. Baines and Steele, as well as Brian Dulin, alcohol and other drugs coordinator for the University of Idaho, and Cynthia Mauzerall, director of counseling for the College of Idaho, make up the Idaho College Health Coalition (ICHC), a partnership among these four universities to combat alcohol and drug abuse with the aim of promoting healthy lifestyles among college students.

The ICHC was one of 179 community coalitions from around the nation honored during the CADCA graduation ceremony. Each coalition received a graduation certificate for completing CADCA’s National Coalition Academy, a rigorous training program designed to increase the effectiveness of community drug prevention leaders. The National Coalition Academy (NCA) is a comprehensive, year-long training program developed by CADCA’s National Coalition Institute. The NCA incorporates three, week-long classroom sessions, a web-based distance learning component, an online workstation where participants network and share planning products and free ongoing technical assistance. To graduate, coalitions must complete a rigorous curriculum. They must participate in all components of the National Coalition Academy and complete five essential planning products that serve as the foundation of their comprehensive plan for community change.

“We are so proud of Lauren for investing the time and resources to take advantage of the best community coalition training in the world. To graduate from this year-long course is no small task and Lauren will help the Idaho College Health Coalition be more prepared to be an effective, sustainable coalition because of this training,” said Michelle Ihmels, director of Wellness Services for University Health Services.

The ICHC is one of six Idaho coalitions to receive $94,000 in grant funds from Idaho’s Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The ICHC has just finished the first year of their grant, which focused on collecting data about how Idaho college students use and perceive alcohol and other drugs.  The mechanism used to collect the data was the American College Health Association National College Health Assessment. The coalition is applying for their second year funds which will help them implement some interventions for alcohol and prescription drug abuse, the two areas of substance abuse on which they have chosen to focus.

The ICHC seeks to join Idaho public and private institutions of higher education, state government agencies, and community organizations in promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing the harm associated with detrimental life and health choices and the use and abuse of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

“The ICHC has proven to be an invaluable resource for participating colleges and universities over the past 10 years to provide resources, programming and expertise related to substance abuse prevention efforts specifically related to college campuses in Idaho,” said Baines. “College drinking and drug use continues as a major nationwide health concern with over 1800 college students dying each year across the country in substance abuse related deaths. Drinking and drug use is a huge draw on community resources across Idaho. Thus, it is imperative that the ICHC continue its work with institutions of higher education and their local communities to continue efforts to positively impact this public health concern. We hope that other colleges and universities in Idaho will join ICHC and benefit from its resources and programming.”

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is the nation’s largest training for substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals and researchers. More than 2,500 community leaders representing almost every state and U.S. territory took part in CADCA’s 2016 Forum, held in Feb. 1-4, learning new strategies to address local drug-related issues and renewing their commitment to preventing teen drug use. For more information, and to view photos and videos, from CADCA’s National Leadership Forum, visit