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Virtual Communities Town Hall Event

Hosted by: Midwest Asian Health Association

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

The Midwest Asian Health Association, working with the McKinley Park Underage Drinking and Other Substance Abuse Prevention (McK-UDOS) Coalition, hosted a virtual town hall event for the community. The event covered underage drinking and substance misuse prevention, with invited guest speakers from Westcare Foundation Illinois, Northwestern University, Illinois Liquor Control Commission, and Lurie Children’s Hospital. The event took place October 26, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. over Zoom. It was recorded and posted to the McK-UDOS’ YouTube channel. The town hall covered topics from scientific research on youth brain development, to substance use-related public safety concerns, to strategies and resources available for parents and youth on substance abuse prevention and education. This event was free and open to all. Staff developed a press release and an event flyer for promotion, posted on various social media platforms, and spread the word to numerous partner organizations and groups.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

According to ABC News, even though binge drinking among youth has decreased, alcohol use is still popular, along with vaping behaviors.

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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Create an ongoing conversation about underage drinking and substance use prevention in the community
  • Foster collaboration between community stakeholders for continued underage drinking and substance use prevention activities
  • Awareness and enforcement of social host laws) to support prevention of underage drinking
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

Midwest Asian Health Association and McK-UDOS Coalition hosted a virtual town hall event over Zoom and invited guest speakers from Westcare Foundation Illinois, Northwestern University, Illinois Liquor Control Commission, and Lurie Children’s Hospital to be a part of the panel. Speakers each provided a 10- to 12-minute presentation covering substance misuse prevention and education. The organization’s staff created a press release and flyer to promote the town hall event to the public.

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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization decided to avoid having an in-person town hall event but instead hosted it over the online meeting platform, Zoom. The organization also recorded the town hall event to be posted on social media for those who were unable to attend.

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What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • We did not have any additional challenges.

We did not have any additional challenges.

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How did you overcome these challenges?

The organization decided to avoid having an in-person town hall event due to ongoing concerns of social distancing and COVID-19 cases. Instead, staff hosted the event over Zoom. The organization also recorded the town hall event to be posted on social media for those who were unable to attend.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances
  • Create a public education campaign to raise awareness and/or change behaviors around underage drinking (i.e., create PSAs and other promotional materials)

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