Unhealthy alcohol use is often under identified and as a result undertreated, and it has become a major public health issue in Maine and nationally. In fact, most health care professionals receive very little education in alcohol use, even though 30% to 60% of all hospital visits in Maine and nearly 30% to 40% of primary care visits are alcohol related. In areas of rural Maine, unhealthy alcohol use and its related problems are acute.
To address this critical issue, Lunder-Dineen has convened a team of Maine-based experts to develop and implement a unique initiative to raise awareness, provide interprofessional education and skills, and address the gap in alcohol assessment and treatment. Our focus is to become leaders in innovative approaches and cultural shifts in interprofessional alcohol education and care practices.
Designed for primary care physicians, all professionals on their teams, and other non-addiction health care professionals, Time to Ask helps these clinicians properly identify, assess, and recommend treatment for patients who may be affected by unhealthy alcohol use. It is our vision that this development process can be piloted to raise awareness, change attitudes, and address the gap between education and treatment of substance abuse disorders.
"The evidence tells us that having a meaningful conversation with a patient about their alcohol use, often times positively influences their behavior to reconsider their consumption as they learn about the effect of alcohol use on their overall health. The Time To Ask initiative addresses that education gap by providing this much needed foundational education."
—Noah Nesin, MD, FAAFP
Vice President of Medical Affairs,
Penobscot Community Health Center