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MUSC Education & Student Life Annual Report for 2010-2011

ESL Annual Report | Alcohol Advisory Council

The vast majority of students at MUSC use alcohol responsibly; however, because the misuse of alcohol has such serious consequences for future healthcare providers and biomedical scientists, ESL is committed to helping ensure that MUSC students are well informed about the risks. Our efforts represent a potential model for other medical schools, as reflected by the fact that the AAMC symposium on student wellness requested that we share the results of our activities with conference attendees.

In addition to responsible serving practices at all Student Programs events, ESL developed an Alcohol Advisory Council comprised of students, staff, faculty, and associate deans from all six colleges. This group, appointed by Dr. Darlene Shaw and chaired by Dr. Suzanne Thomas (an alcohol researcher and Director of Research and Assessment in ESL), created a multi-faceted approach to communicate consistently to MUSC students the importance of drinking in moderation if they choose to drink.

First, an educational tool—a blood alcohol estimator card—was created and distributed to students across campus. These cards allow students to estimate their blood alcohol level based on gender, weight, and number of drinks consumed. The card provides guidance on relatively safe versus risky blood alcohol levels, and more importantly, the cards explicitly discourage drinking and driving and provide phone numbers for local taxicab services. Monthly activities are hosted throughout the academic year such as Lunch and Learn presentations by various experts about alcohol use and misuse. We also sponsored “hands-on” demonstrations to educate students about alcohol amounts in a standard drink and illustrations of impairment at different blood alcohol concentrations using distortion goggles that simulate low, moderate, and high blood alcohol concentrations. Finally, ESL annually assesses through an anonymous survey of students the prevalence of alcohol use and misuse. These data were used by college deans and MUSC administration in 2011 to implement policy changes that further advance our efforts to promote a positive alcohol culture among our students.


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