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RTI International Will Strengthen Texas’ Public Health Infrastructure for Preventing Excessive Alcohol Use through New CDC Cooperative Agreement

The initiative will promote population health in Texas through increased capacity in alcohol epidemiology and the prevention of excessive alcohol use.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.— RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research institute, was awarded a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build Texas’ epidemiologic capacity related to excessive alcohol use and associated harms. In partnership with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), RTI will help build the public health infrastructure necessary to reduce and prevent excessive alcohol use in the state through a population-level, data-driven approach.

Excessive alcohol use is a leading preventable cause of death in the United States. With a population of nearly 30 million, representing 10% of the nation’s population, addressing excessive alcohol use within Texas, and disseminating critical data, can help reduce the burden of excessive alcohol use on a national scale.

“The first step in addressing excessive alcohol use is understanding what is going on in our communities,” said Jessica Cance, MPH, PhD, research public health analyst. “Our partnership with DSHS will focus on identifying patterns of excessive drinking and, more importantly, factors that may influence those patterns. This will help our community partners successfully intervene and change the trajectory of excessive alcohol use and related harms in Texas.”

The five-year project started in September 2021 and will enhance three Essential Public Health Services related to preventing excessive alcohol use in Texas—surveillance, communication, and consultation— through the following activities:

  • Collect and analyze existing alcohol-use data.
  • Disseminate information via dashboards, webinars, publications, and more to reach researchers, health practitioners, and the public.
  • Respond to inquiries from and provide technical assistance to stakeholders and the public about the prevention of excessive alcohol use.

The RTI-DSHS team has a committed partnership with Texans for Safe and Drug-Free Youth (TxSDY), a state-level community coalition working with Texas communities to prevent substance misuse. To facilitate the sharing of actionable data, TxSDY will convene a Community Advisory Board of state and local stakeholders throughout the project period to inform them of project activities.