Development of Education Materials for Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Russia

January 31, 2005

Principle Investigator: Barbara L. Bonner, PhD
Institution: University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
RTOI #: 2005-999-01

This project is designed to increase knowledge and awareness to prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in Russian children through the development of (1) training materials for Russian health professionals, and (2) printed materials targeting women of childbearing age in Russia.

Alcohol abuse is a major public health problem in Russia. The rates of FAS and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ARND) in Russia are not presently known. The only available study indicated extremely high rates of FAS in Russia orphanages (Robinson et al., 2001).

At this time, there are no programs to prevent FAS in Russia. Currently, a research project is being conducted in Russia to obtain preliminary data critical to developing targeted prevention programs. The project is sponsored by the Fogarty International Center/NIH Research Grant #R21 TW006745-01. The results of the Phase I of the study—focus groups with health professionals (pediatricians, obstetricians-gynecologists, and substance abuse treatment providers), pregnant women and their partners, non-pregnant women, and women with alcohol dependency—indicated limited knowledge about FAS, misconceptions about alcohol use during pregnancy, and a lack of materials and print resources related to this topic.

Based on these initial findings, this project proposes to develop and evaluate informational materials, such as posters and brochures for women, and training materials for healthcare professionals to reduce drinking during pregnancy in Russia. The FAS Curriculum Framework, the Instructional Resource Handbook, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Guidelines for Referral and Diagnosis will guide the development of the training materials for Russian professionals, and CDC and NIAAA print materials, such as posters and brochures, will be used to develop culturally appropriate materials in the Russian language. The training materials for professionals and printed materials for women will be tested in randomized trials in a pre-post test design to determine the effectiveness of the training and print materials in changing knowledge about FAS and attitudes toward drinking during pregnancy.

The project will be conducted in collaboration with St. Petersburg State University and the research will be conducted in sites established through the current NIH project with continuing medical education programs and women's clinics in St. Petersburg and the Nizhniy Novgorod region.