For College of Public Health and Human Sciences alumna Julee Christianson, MPH ’14, it took a few years in the MPH program at Oregon State to find her passion. And now she’s turned that passion into a job that will undoubtedly improve the lives of others.
“Once I realized my passion for substance abuse prevention, I started focusing my classroom projects on the topic, such as a Twitter campaign to increase doctors using SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment),” Julee says. “My final oral exam presentation was an alcohol abuse prevention plan using the Strategic Prevention Framework. The opportunity at the CPHHS to choose topics really helped me development my understanding of prevention science and interventions.”
After holding jobs as a CPHHS MPH program manager and consultant working on an alcohol abuse prevention grant with the Benton County Health Department following graduation, Julee earned a position as a CSAP (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention) Prevention Fellow in Washington State.
“The opportunity at the CPHHS to choose topics really helped me development my understanding of prevention science and interventions.”
“Since I did not have much experience working in public health before getting my master’s degree, this has been an exceptional opportunity to work in the field while having a lot of professional development and training opportunities,” Julee says.
The two-year U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Fellowship Program, which combines web‐based and in-person trainings, provides fellows with the opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge of prevention practices. During the fellowship, fellows benefit from hands-on experience and training in areas such as behavioral health promotion, community organization, program planning and more, and focus on acquiring the necessary skills for success in the fields of substance abuse prevention and behavioral health.
While most states give prevention money to counties for prevention work, Julee says Washington State allocates funds to communities with the highest need – 57 total, with at least one in each county. These communities are asked to hire a coalition coordinator, develop a coalition and partner with schools in their area in what they call the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI).
CPWI is a partnership of state agencies, counties, schools and prevention coalitions supporting communities in preventing alcohol and other drug abuse. The highest priority is to reduce underage drinking and underage marijuana use.
“I hope this fellowship will help me foster the experience and confidence I need to continue to facilitate effective and lasting positive effects in our communities.”
Hired by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery, Julee will be responsible for managing a new CPWI in a high-need community in Washington, where she will provide technical assistance and prevention training to the coalition coordinator, such as assisting with the coalition’s strategic plan and budget, and supporting their reporting requirements.
“This grassroots approach helps communities make a real and measurable impact on their youth,” she says.
In addition, she will begin managing a prevention funds contract with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and will monitor grants allocated to community-based organizations to conduct prevention work around underage marijuana use.
“I will also be assisting in the development of training opportunities across the state for youth marijuana prevention evidence-based programs,” Julee says.
As part of the fellowship, Julee also completes trainings and projects with her cohort of CSAP Fellows across the country.
“I hope this fellowship will help me foster the experience and confidence I need to continue to facilitate effective and lasting positive effects in our communities,” she says.