myStudentBody® Alcohol Strengthens Public Health Approach at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Evidence-based online alcohol programming bolsters campus-wide prevention and harm reduction efforts at UMass Amherst.

Inflexxion Inc. - The myStudentBody® Comprehensive College Health Suite is pleased to welcome the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to its growing subscriber base. This fall, myStudentBody® Alcohol, an evidence-based online alcohol abuse prevention program, debuts on the western Massachusetts campus, where responsible alcohol use is a prominent public health concern.

Over the past few years, university administrators have engaged a steady, consistent, proactive, and unfaltering approach to alcohol abuse prevention, bringing focus and cohesion to a previously distributed effort. And the decision to provide myStudentBody® Alcohol to UMass Amherst students has been extremely complementary to the integrated planning process that has spanned recent years. In 2002, students and administrators got their first sampling of during the clinical trial for myStudentBody® Tobacco, conducted at UMass Amherst and 4 other institutions with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At about the same time, myStudentBody® Alcohol was introduced as a commercial product.

According to Dr. Sally Linowski, Associate Director of University Health Services, "We immediately thought that an evidence-based online program would lend much strength to the university’s alcohol abuse prevention strategy." myStudentBody's scientific development process and NIH-supported efficacy testing were also very appealing, but the Health Services team realized that widespread organizational adoption would increase the likelihood of success. Representatives from Greek Affairs, the Dean of Students office, and the Student Government Association were invited to review myStudentBody® Alcohol in a live presentation hosted at the university. Attendees were very impressed, and the health services team began moving toward a subscription purchase.

Meanwhile, other aspects of a university-wide prevention strategy were beginning to take shape. A new Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Michael Gargano, sought to establish a Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention that would centralize services and improve the efficiency of occasionally fragmented efforts. With support from Director of Health Services, Bernette Melby, and Dean of Students, Jo-Anne Vanin, Dr. Linowski and prevention specialist Diane Fedorchak were charged with structuring a plan for funding and implementation. As participants in a 5-year initiative funded by the NIAAA at the Boston University School of Public Health, the university also formed a Campus-Community Coalition to involve the extended community in creating an effective strategic plan for changing the overall environment in which dangerous drinking is perceived as the norm. And the Health Services team has continued to build on this solid foundation.

Annual surveys of student Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) use, attitudes and behavior have given the university a clear view of the highest risk segments of the population, in terms of quantity, frequency, and consequences. This year, the team will implement a new program using the well-established BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) strategy for alcohol policy violators and medical referrals, while myStudentBody® Alcohol will provide 24/7 online support for the entire campus population as well as targeted efforts with students:

  •      social norms marketing, including small groups norms
  •     a general health survey course, entitled “ My Body, My Health”
  •     resident assistants
  •     fraternity and sorority members
  •     student athletes
  •     peer health education programs

A recent addition to the Health Services team, April McNally, is currently piloting myStudentBody® Alcohol with various student groups, including student educators, volunteers, and graduate students. And although the program is still new, the Health Services team is finding myStudentBody® Alcohol an especially handy resource for student leaders. McNally explains that while structured courses and tracking feature are essential to the logistics of moving 4,500 first year students through the program, the opportunity for non-linear "free roam" visits makes the comprehensive website an ideal supplement for Resident Advisors and Peer Mentors. “In terms of social dynamics, the material is right on target. Accessible language and a non-judgmental tone appeal to both students and educators alike. And the website is packed with accurate information that can be used in multiple ways." extends sincere appreciation to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for its carefully planned implementation and support. The team at Inflexxion, Inc. looks forward to a long term and successful partnership. Please visit the following URL for a Quick Tour of our programs and additional information about this innovative approach to college health:    

About the myStudentBody® Comprehensive College Health Suite:

Combining the efforts of behavioral scientists, multimedia designers and educators, each component of the myStudentBody® Comprehensive College Health Suite has been developed by a top-notch team through a series of competitive grant awards from the National Institutes of Health. Working together with college students and nationally renowned experts, the myStudentBody® suite tackles the most relevant health-related issues on college campuses today. Current subscription offerings address the broad spectrum of concerns associated with the following topics: alcohol, STDs, tobacco, and stress.

myStudentBody® Data Reports companion websites offer fully customizable reports and real-time aggregate data that help campus administrators and health professionals plan successful health initiatives and monitor program outcomes. Additional websites covering nutrition and drugs are on the horizon for release throughout the academic year. To request a free guest pass, please visit:

About Inflexxion, Inc.

Inflexxion® Inc. [ is a unique science based company specializing in healthcare business solutions. Using interactive multimedia and Internet technologies that guarantee user involvement, Inflexxion® brings efficiencies and new treatment options to all aspects of health. The company develops, designs, tests, and markets a variety of interactive tools that use effective science based interventions to produce behavior change in clinicians, patients, and families. Inflexxion® Inc. is based in Newton, Mass.

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