Proof Alliance Spotlight Post
What is FASD?
FASD stands for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, which refers to a wide range of effects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. FASD is unique in that no one person on the spectrum has an identical experience with FASD, as the severity of types of impacts vary greatly from person to person. The largest impact of FASD is on brain injury, which is not curable.
How and why was Proof Alliance founded?
Proof Alliance was first known as MOFAS, the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, in 1988. It was founded by Susan Carlson, the First Lady of MN at the time. Mrs. Carlson, who also worked with the Court system, realized that many people who were coming through had disabilities and mental health issues. MOFAS was formed in response to prevent alcohol exposed-pregnancies and support people with prenatal alcohol exposure.
How has COVID-19 impacted the work of/the initiatives of the Proof Alliance?
During the pandemic, Proof Alliance needed to reassess how to deliver programs. Virtual sessions have improved attendance; more participants are able to join because they have more time. Unfortunately, drinking has increased among women by 41% since the pandemic. The increased drinking will likely lead to increased exposure to alcohol disabilities. Proof Alliance has to deal with more challenges that are centered around the increased amount of barriers.
What are some national campaigns Proof Alliance has been involved in?
In the past year, Proof Alliance has partnered with The Arc of North Carolina, now called Proof Alliance North Carolina, to train and inform healthcare personnel, as well as the general public. Additionally, Proof Alliance has worked with the Boston Medical Center to train community health members on how to screen fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. FASD organizations are not common, but Proof Alliance is proud to help the growing number of FASD organizations.
How has public knowledge or perception changed regarding Fetal Alcohol syndrome, and how has Proof alliance adapted to changes over time?
Unfortunately, public perception of FASD has not changed as much as Proof Alliance would like or expect. More research has been conducted in recent years, which has provided much more reliable data and information surrounding FASD. However, the stigma surrounding those with FASD and lack of open communication regarding FASD has caused many FASD cases to be undiagnosed, and prevented effective treatment or support for those struggling with FASD. More work is needed to increase public awareness about FASD and eliminate the stigma associated with FASD. Proof Alliance has worked to spread awareness on the issue by attending community events to educate healthcare workers, as well as expectant mothers.
How can MNPQC/MPO help to further the initiatives of Proof Alliance?
MNPQC can help by continuing to build up relationships within the community and within MNPQC itself, in order for more open and comfortable discussions regarding FASD to take place. Additionally, MNPQC could help raise awareness of FASD and FASD prevention by providing brochures or infographics on FASD, as well as training staff about FASD and FASD prevention.
What is the best way for individuals to get involved with Proof Alliance’s initiatives and goals?
Anyone can visit the Proof Alliance website to learn more about FASD! There are fact sheets about alcohol use and pregnancies from reliable sources, support groups for pregnant mothers, caregivers, and support for those directly or indirectly affected by FASD. For any specific inquiries, feel free to reach out to Sarah Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please visit Proof Alliance’s Website: