As the coordinators of the Shift+ (Shift Positive) initiative and network, which consists of people and organizations in the Paso del Norte region committed to promoting effective and evidence-based alcohol prevention strategies, YMCA of Greater El Paso TX & Rio Grande Valley staff were thrilled to participate in the Alcohol Policy Conference this April in Washington, DC. The team led a 90-minute panel session that focused on how communities are successfully advocating for local policy improvements to reduce alcohol risk factors at the community level.
The team also participated in the 2016 Annual New Mexico Public Health Association Conference with brought together more than 400 researchers, practitioners, service providers, community members, legislators, and students from the U.S. and Mexico. Daniela Marquez (YMCA of El Paso staff) and Aileen Soto (former intern with Shift+) led a presentation titled “An Environmental Scan of Alcohol Retail Establishments And Billboard Alcohol Advertisement In El Paso TX: Informing Policy Through Local Data”, focused on the “4 P’s” (Product, Promotion, Price, Place) of Environmental Prevention. Their presentation detailed environmental scanning to examine risk factors in the retail alcohol environment, and mapped alcohol billboard advertisements in the community using GIS to examine additional risk factors that may contribute to underage drinking and binge drinking. According to Daniela Marquez, who interned with the YMCA of El Paso during a Health Promotion Practicum and is now a Project Coordinator with the YMCA and working towards her Master’s in Public Health: “At NMPHA, it was great to participate in a variety of presentations that promoted public health practices, policies, and systems changes that support health equity in our Paso del Norte Region. Students had the opportunity to network with potential employers and meet public health professionals from all over the region. And it was really gratifying that so many people are interested in what they can do to advocate for evidence-based policies that will keep kids, families, and communities safe and healthy”.
Community members in El Paso and Southern New Mexico are at various stages of adopting and implementing local Social Host Ordinances, which hold people accountable for providing an environment where underage drinking and related nuisances occur. El Paso is among several municipalities in Texas that are close to implementing a civil Social Host Ordinance, and a diverse network of community advocates support these policies. Bill Coon, CEO of the YMCA of El Paso, said “The Y has always been about creating healthier environments, and advocating for evidence-based policies that reduce alcohol-related harm is just another way that the Y can play a vital role in supporting healthy communities”. For more information on social host ordinance efforts in El Paso, click here.
Shift+ is an initiative of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. For more information about the YMCA of El Paso, visit http://www.elpasoymca.org/. For more information about the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, visit http://www.pdnhf.org/.