The Health of Children of Russia: Providing Education on FAS/FASD

December 3, 2007

PI: Tatiana Balachova, PhD, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is one of the most severe outcomes of alcohol use during pregnancy and its rate of incidence may be higher in countries with greater use of alcohol, such as Russia. Russia has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption and the burden of disease attributed to alcohol in the world (WHO, 2005) and increasingly hazardous drinking in young women (Onischenko, 2007). The proposed project is an extension of two lines of research by the investigators: (1) a large scale survey of women and physicians in Russia to collect data critical to developing prevention strategies for alcohol-exposed pregnancies (NIH Fogarty, Preventing FAS/ARND in Russian Children, R21 TW006745-01 and R21 TW 006745-02S1 2003-2007), and (2) a project to develop FAS/ARND education materials for Russian physicians and women (AUCD/CDC, Development of Education Materials for Prevention of FAS in Russian, RTOI 2005-999-01 (2005-2007). The long-term goal of the proposed project is to prevent alcohol exposed pregnancies and FAS/FASD in Russia through improved access to information for the general public and health professionals. The internet has become an increasingly common source of health information in Western countries. It is especially important for countries with limited health promotion resources to utilize and evaluate the use of the internet as a channel for delivering information about FAS/FASD to the public and health professionals. To achieve the project goal we will: 1) transform FAS/FASD Russian education materials developed with the current AUCD/CDC funded project into a web-based online resource; 2) develop the first web-based FAS/FASD education resource in Russian language; 3) provide a broad dissemination of FAS/FASD education materials for the general public and health professionals; 4) conduct a systematic evaluation of the project by testing the training modules with physicians and obtaining feedback from the site visitors; and 5) evaluate the feasibility of using the internet to communicate health information in Russia through specifying the characteristics of the general public and health professionals who access the information and assessing participants' receptivity to obtaining such information.