Training needs of healthcare providers related to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention core competencies for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Background: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are birth defects directly linked to consumption of alcohol during pregnancy and hence completely preventable.  Many health and allied health professionals are in prime positions for primary prevention of FASDs through work with women of childbearing age and secondary prevention through work with affected individuals whose lives can be greatly improved via tailored intervention.

Objectives: To develop educational guidelines for FASD prevention.

Methods: Interviews were conducted with 26 individuals representing eight health or allied health professions. Participants were asked about professional groups with which they had sufficient experience to describe FASD-related competencies and educational needs for the given group(s). For each group, participants were asked for their perceptions of group members’ FASD awareness, knowledge, and skills application as related to the seven core competencies for FASD practice developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Results: Findings revealed that competence, especially when viewed separately in terms of knowledge versus capacity for application of information, in the area of FASDs is unevenly distributed among and throughout healthcare provider groups.

Conclusion: Based on this information, recommendations are offered for optimal health and allied health education efforts to prevent and treat FASDs, framed along FASD core competencies recommended by the CDC.




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