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Dalhousie Seminar Series: The Journey of UniVenture - March 2022

Dr. Sherry Stewart and Dr. Yunus Fakir presented The Journey of UniVenture: A substance misuse prevention and mental health promotion intervention for undergraduates across four provinces in Canada on March 21, 2022, in a seminar series through the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University.

In this talk, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Fakir described the UniVenture project, outlined the program adaptation process, presented some preliminary findings, and discussed the experience of conducting such a large-scale study during a global pandemic.

To find out more information on the talk, read the seminar abstract below & for similar upcoming events at your university subscribe to our newsletter!

Abstract Canadian university undergraduate students display concerningly high rates of alcohol, cannabis, and prescription drug misuse. This substance misuse has harmful effects that negatively impact students, their friends and families, and their communities. Harms can include serious injury and even death. These persisting high rates of substance misuse reflect a lack of effectiveness of universal, one-size-fits-all prevention programs currently used by Canadian universities. Prevention programs that are targeted and personalized to characteristics of vulnerable students are needed.

In 2019, we launched ‘UniVenture’ - a SSHRC-supported research partnership supported by aiming to adapt, test, and share an effective, sustainable targeted wellness program to tackle heavy drinking and other substance misuse on Canadian campuses. Conceptually, it is based on an existing, successful, and internationally recognized high school student program called 'PreVenture'. UniVenture is being implemented across five Canadian University-based sites: Dalhousie (Dal), Saint Francis Xavier (StFX), Université de Montréal (UdeM), York and University of British Columbia–Okanagan (UBC-O).

This seminar summarizes findings from a series of studies that we have been conducting as a part of the UniVenture project. Specifically, the speakers will review the process of adapting the intervention for undergraduates, our feasibility findings, and pre-post pilot study findings from the winter 2021 project pilot study. An update of the ongoing UniVenture study, including a summary of our current progress and discussion of the challenges encountered in managing a large-scale trial across four provinces during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, will also be covered. Ultimately, the goal of the UniVenture Study is to evaluate the effects of in person and virtual workshops on students' substance-related harms, mental health, and academic outcomes.



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