- UT Physicians
Drs. Mary Velasquez and Kirk von Sternberg at the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute (HBRT) have received funding through UT Physicians group (Houston) to develop and implement behavioral interventions targeting alcohol, tobacco and obesity among women in UT Health Science Center-Houston (UTHSC) medical clinics. Additionally, HBRT will train UTHSC clinicians and health workers on interventions to address adverse health behaviors.
History and Evidence Base: Project CHOICES (Changing High-Risk AlcOhol Use and Increasing Contraception Effectiveness Study) has been shown to reduce the risk of alcohol-exposed pregnancies by addressing family planning and/or changing alcohol use, and it has been widely disseminated and tested in STD clinics, community health centers and family planning clinics. Both the CDC and SAMSHA list it as an evidence-based program.
Although Project CHOICES is described as a “brief intervention,” it involves four 40-60 minute individual sessions with a master’s trained counselor and a fully paid family planning education and services visit. Expanding to other significant risk factors and reducing resource intensity were critical next steps. Project CHOICES Plus (CDC U84 DD000438, PI: Velasquez) added tobacco to alcohol and family planning and adapted it to a two-session intervention
For DSRIP Project CHOICES Plus+, we proposed to add obesity and a general module on other behavioral risks and protective actions to improve Pregnancy outcomes. By expanding the CHOICES Plus program to address obesity, tobacco, alcohol, and family planning, we hope to address the unmet needs of a significant number of current UTHealth clients.