Kelli Komro, Ph.D., former associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy at UF, and other members of her research team from the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy discussed preliminary results of their five-year, NIH-funded community-based trial, which aims to reduce underage alcohol use in rural Oklahoma in partnership with the Cherokee Nation, at several venues this past summer and received positive feedback from community partners. Their project is currently wrapping up its active intervention and evaluation phase, and Komro now serves as a faculty member in the School of Public Health at Emory University.
The project is a collaborative effort to implement and evaluate a new, integrated community-level intervention designed to prevent underage drinking and the associated negative consequences among Native American and other youth living in rural, high-risk communities, that also includes HOP faculty Alexander Wagenaar, Ph.D., and Mildred Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D.; and ICHP postdoctoral fellow Brady A. Garrett, Ph.D., counseling psychologist with Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health, and Terrence K. Kominsky, Ph.D., Dallas Pettigrew, MSW, and Misty L. Boyd, Ph.D., with Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health.
In addition to partnering with members of Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health, the team collaborated with Neighbors Building Neighborhoods, a non-profit that supports other non-profits in building sustainability and working toward the common good in communities in northeastern Oklahoma. The non-profit’s executive director expressed her appreciation for a presentation that Komro and the team gave to the board of directors in June, saying “I truly appreciate the relationship with the University of Florida and the Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health Department.”
Lynch also said the board was interested in learning more about next steps with the project and specifically valued the collaborative approach of the project and its research design.
“The past five years have been a remarkable opportunity to conduct rigorous research hand-in-hand with my colleagues at Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health and local non-profits, demonstrating the feasibility and value of collaborating beyond the academy,” said Komro. “I am excited to be able to discuss the final results of our five-year trial in the coming year.”