(Republished from the UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine Newsroom)
The UNC School of Medicine is one of six grantees in a new $16 million federal initiative to help primary care practices increase efforts to address patients’ unhealthy alcohol use.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), announced the initiative October 22.
The six grantees will work with more than 700 primary care practices over three years to implement and evaluate strategies to increase the use of evidence-based interventions such as screening for unhealthy alcohol use; brief interventions for adult patients who drink too much; and medication-assisted therapy for patients with an alcohol use disorder.
Dan Jonas, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine in the division of general medicine and clinical epidemiology, and deputy director at the UNC Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, is the principal investigator for one of the AHRQ-funded projects, called STUN (STop UNhealthy) Alcohol Use Now.
“STUN Alcohol Use Now is an intervention designed to rapidly spread primary care practice support structures that help small to medium-size primary care practices identify and provide appropriate services for people with unhealthy alcohol use,” said Jonas, who holds an adjunct appointment to the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “We will do this in 135 practices statewide, in all nine regions of the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program.”
Other investigators from UNC in the project are Sam Cykert, MD, professor in the division of general medicine and clinical epidemiology; Darren DeWalt, MD, MPH, professor in the division of general medicine and clinical epidemiology; Sarah Birken, PhD, SPH, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health; Colleen Barclay, MPH, research associate at the Sheps Center for Health Services Research; and Jason Fine, ScD, in the Department of Biostatistics at at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Grantees will be supported by a community of learning that will provide resources, tools, and evidence-based practices. Project interventions will be evaluated by the grantees and an external evaluator assigned to conduct an overarching assessment of the program.
This activity is funded by AHRQ’s Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) initiative, which identifies research findings that could significantly improve patient outcomes through broader implementation in clinical practice.