Getting a Prevention Program Approved by a State Grant Funder

I met Julie at several different conferences and she is such a smart, energetic, and passionate prevention specialist that I asked her to write a Blog about how she managed to gets fund to use the ALC in NY State, which has it's own criteria and review process for programs.  Luckily, she agreed...

Julie Dostal, Phd.

How to get a prevention program you love, approved by your State Grant Funder

I’m a prevention provider in New York working for The LEAF Council on Alcoholism and Addictions. NY has a large block grant that gets dispersed to counties for use in their programs.  Most states use NREPP recommended programs if they use federal funding.  My state added another level of approval, to insure programs met their standards, and as a way for home-grown programs to have an alternative path for approval, rather than meeting NREPP criteria.

Qualifying for block grant funds is tied to using a large percentage of the money on research-based programs that our grant governing body OASAS (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services) has approved. I found the Alcohol Literacy Challenge (ALC) before it went through the approval process with NREPP and the New York State OASAS...  The ALC has since gone through an NREPP review, and was rated a 3.5 for readiness of dissemination and a 3.2 for quality of research (out of 4).  My state had not yet updated their lists. Since I wanted to explore the use of the ALC program, and I wanted to make sure other providers were able to access it, I explored how to get it on the OASAS list.

I contacted our Chief Researcher to request a review of the ALC for addition to the list.  I filled out the forms required by OASAS, and got the research study information from Dr. Peter DeBenedittis to them.  It really wasn’t very hard or time-consuming for me because Dr. DeBenedittis helped so much with the technical aspects of the application.

If you have a program you believe in, it’s worth moving it through your states process so that others can learn about it and use it.  I know it’s hard to make changes, and that some years there are too many crises to find one extra ounce of energy to start something new.  But, I’m really happy I took the time to train my staff, and bring the ALC program to New York.  We’ve gotten great feedback about it from students and providers alike.