Prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Educational needs in academia

As many as 4.5 live births per 1000 are affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), preventable birth defects with lifelong consequences.  Prevention of FASDs is gaining in importance and recruitment of diverse disciplines in delivering prevention to women of childbearing age is essential.  This needs assessment explored to what extent FASD education has been embraced by academic programs and incorporated into curricula.  Results (based on 45 programs) suggest that directors are open to FASD education for trainees, but with few resources to support it within their own programs.  Misunderstandings about their own disciplines’ roles vis-à-vis FASD prevention may limit their commitment to incorporating FASD requirements into their programs.  Entities interested in facilitating FASD prevention need to be prepared to educate directors about their disciplines’ roles in FASD prevention and to make resources available that are neither cost- nor time-intensive.  Online resources and clearinghouses of guest lecturers prepared to deliver a variety of contents and methods appear particularly likely to bear fruit. 


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