Development and implementation of CHOICES Group to reduce drinking, improve contraception, and prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies in American Indian women

October 19, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Public health officials assert that prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies (AEP) should begin before conception, by reducing alcohol consumption in women at-risk for or planning pregnancy, and/or preventing pregnancy in women who are drinking at risky levels. One such effort is the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) CHOICES Program. While the OST CHOICES Program has been successfully implemented, a community-based needs assessment determined that the OST CHOICES intervention should expand and be delivered in a group setting using group motivational interviewing (MI) techniques. After extensive group MI and CHOICES group trainings, recruitment for CHOICES Group began and within a ten month period, a total of twelve groups with non-pregnant American Indian women were held for this pilot intervention. Evaluations completed by participants indicated that CHOICES Group sessions positively engaged members, had low levels of anger or tension, and had average levels of avoidance of personal responsibility. An evaluation of the CHOICES Group leaders indicated strengths in certain MI skills, although improvement is needed in some core MI and group leadership skills. This is an important expansion of a successful AEP prevention program (CHOICES), as well as a novel application of MI, and recommendations and future plans for this intervention are outlined.