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J FAS Int 2003;1:e17 -
Urban FASD Interventions: Bridging the Cultural Gap

Paul Massotti, PhD, Karen Szala-Meneok, PhD, Peter Selby, MBBS, Jennifer Ranford, MA, Alison Van Koughnett


Introduction

There is a cultural gap between urban-based primary care physicians and Aboriginal women. Bridging this gap will improve the physician-patient relationship and facilitate effective FASD interventions. We propose the development of culturally appropriate interventions.

Background

Primary care offices are ideal venues for FASD interventions. However, due to cultural differences, they may be less than ideal for the growing population of Aboriginal women. FASD is permanent, preventable and under diagnosed. Research indicates that rates are higher in Aboriginal populations. There is evidence that binge drinking, possibly the most important risk factor for FASD, is more common among Aboriginal women. There is a need to develop interventions for Aboriginal women.

Methods
We propose the development of brief alcohol interventions that consider the characteristics/needs of physicians and Aboriginal mothers. Researchers would develop the qualitative methods used to introduce information to and learn from stakeholders. The intervention would have six core operational characteristics where the intervention would: i) identify ?at risk? women; ii) assess drinking behaviors; iii) provide information on the harmful effects of drinking above recommended limits; iv) facilitate the decision of women to adopt healthier drinking behaviors; v) monitor changes or progress; and vi) be acceptable to clinicians and easily implemented.

Discussion
Physicians are likely to see increased numbers of Aboriginal patients in their offices. Further funding of intervention development/evaluation research is needed to address this public health issue, not only for Aboriginal people, but also for all Canadians.

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