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UTHSC faculty to lead national substance abuse project

Four faculty members from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) will launch a nationwide, educational effort to combat alcoholism. The team is one of only five groups in the country selected to initiate a program called Project MAINSTREAM.

Project MAINSTREAM is an interdisciplinary, educational effort designed to reduce substance abuse by increasing the number of health professionals who have expertise in the areas of prevention, identification and intervention. The Project MAINSTREAM team will work with faculty at the UTHSC and other U.S. institutions to "mainstream" substance abuse courses into all health professions curricula, rather than training only those who specialize in the field.

"We're not talking about making each person a sub-specialist; we're teaching health professionals from 16 different fields how to screen for problems," said Janet Williams, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the UTHSC. "The idea is that a clinician will reach a patient, no matter what type of health care that patient needs."

Dr. Williams serves as a mentor to the UTHSC team. Marden Alder, D.D.S., M.S.; Margaret Brackley, Ph.D., R.N.; and Joe Thornton, M.D., worked together to receive the team nomination for the Health Science Center. The doctors represent the UTHSC Dental School, School of Nursing and School of Medicine, respectively. Four other U.S. institutions will launch the first year of the training program; seven other pre-selected institutions will join Project MAINSTREAM next year.

The Health Resources and Service Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration are funding the project. Both agencies are components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse is administering the effort.

Contact: Amanda Gallagher, (210) 567-2570?