St. Lawrence Health Center Director Authors Article on Alcohol Use

CANTON— St. Lawrence University Director of Health Services Patricia Ellis has co-authored an article published in a recent volume of the Journal of Addictions Nursing, recounting “lessons learned” from a program implemented in two college health services.

The program engaged college administrators and nurse leaders at two colleges in adapting the National College Depression Partnership model to include screening and brief intervention for risky and/or harmful alcohol use in the form of binge drinking among college students. Outcomes included increased awareness among all participants of the importance of alcohol consumption awareness to health, demonstrated ease of using tools such as screening and brief intervention in combination with other screening tools, and yielded information on the normalization of high-risk drinking in collegiate settings. In addition, the program demonstrated techniques for interdisciplinary engagement of professionals involved in total student wellness and education.

“On many college campuses, students do not perceive binge drinking as risky or harmful behavior,” Ellis said. “The evidence says otherwise, with heavy alcohol consumption leading to medical problems, behavioral problems, and costly addictions following the college years.”

“College leadership across the country should be commended for exploring promising insights into the problem and implementing programs that are proven to be effective in changing perceptions and, ultimately, improving student wellness,” she added.

Ellis has served as director of St. Lawrence’s Diana B. Torrey ’82 Health and Counseling Center since 2006. She received her RN from Illinois Wesleyan University and her advanced-practice nursing degrees from SUNY IT. Ellis has been a frequent presenter to community groups and state and national meetings on the subject of student health and wellness.

Ellis co-authored the article with Madeline Naegle from New York University and Joy Himmel from Pennsylvania State University.