By: Matt Buxton (Fairbanks Daily News: Newsminer.com), 3 Feb 2014
Accessed on: 3 Feb 2014
Commentary by: Krystal Glowatski
A group of lawmakers in Alaska have “declared war on fetal alcohol syndrome.” The new public health campaign known as “Empowering Hope” consists of a variety of members: Kelly, Sen. Anna Fairclough, R-Eagle River, former Doyon executive Norm Phillips, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority CEO Jeff Jessee, University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton, retired Superior Court Judge Niesje Steinkruger, Val Davidson of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and former Rep. Reggie Joule.
One of the initiatives the group hopes to instate is “natural responders” within rural communities. These people would “serve as a rural community’s first responder to help keep a pregnant woman from endangering her unborn child with alcohol.” Touching on a previous blog I wrote in February, the group will also initiate an awareness campaign to make women aware of the dangers of drinking while pregnant.
Kelly states, “this approach — having and [sic] end-goal of eradicating the problem — is a much-needed departure from traditional thinking.” I think the widespread, common goal already focuses on eradication, based on all of the talk of prevention across the country, and indeed, internationally. It will be interesting to see what the following weeks will bring in terms of information on “Empowering Hope’s” plan for the short and long-term. Perhaps there will be some innovative approaches coming out of Alaska in the near future.