Reducing Binge Drinking in Rural Wisconsin

Designing, implementing, and evaluating an innovative program to reduce the prevalence of binge drinking in rural Wisconsin

Full Project Name:A Collaborative Response to Reduce Binge Drinking in Rural Wisconsin CommunitiesPrimary Community Organization:Rural Wisconsin Health CooperativePrimary Academic Partner:Leslie Ruffalo, PhD, Family and Community MedicineCo-Investigator:Jeff Morzinski, PhD, Family and Community MedicineAward Amount:$200,000
Award Date
January2014
Project Duration:30 months

Project Description Narrative:


Wisconsin tops the nation in harm and death associated with its drinking culture, reporting that alcohol-related deaths are the fourth leading cause of death in Wisconsin behind heart disease, cancer, and stroke. In 2008, Wisconsin adults reported the highest rates of binge drinking, current alcohol use, and heavy drinking in the country.

The overall goal of this project is to reduce the prevalence of binge drinking in rural Wisconsin communities.

Community partners:
Gundersen Boscobel Area Health Care, Memorial Medical Center, Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, Stoughton Hospital

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Developed, engaged, and maintained a Community Advisory Team in each of the four rural communities that provided input, assured alignment with community need, and guided efforts to establish mandatory screening, incorporate screening into electronic medical records, and collaborating with physicians to assure usefulness of screening

• Implemented Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) screening tool in five clinics across four rural communities

• Created a resource guide of local substance abuse service information that is shared with each patient who screens positively at each site

• Presented project results at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, National Rural Health Association, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative Board Meeting, Wisconsin Hospital Association Rural Health Conference, and various Medical College of Wisconsin research and community engagement meetings

• Leveraged $8,400 through in-kind time from project partners

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