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Project ASSERT

Project ASSERT Impacts Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment in YNHHS EDs

Alcohol Awareness Month in April is a reminder of the critical role the emergency department plays in addressing substance use disorders, particularly alcohol use disorder (AUD).

The mission of Project ASSERT, a joint program between Yale New Haven Health and the Yale School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine, is to connect ED patients with community-based alcohol and drug treatment services. Since starting in 1999, the program has offered support and guidance to thousands of patients and expanded across YNHHS emergency departments and clinics, including those in Bridgeport and New London.

Data underscore the program’s effectiveness. During 2022-2023, ED patients with moderate to severe AUD who received a brief intervention by Project ASSERT’s health promotion advocates were much more likely to engage in treatment than patients who did not receive the intervention. The program’s brief negotiation interview includes a measure in which patients rate their readiness to change on a scale from 1-10. The odds of successful treatment linkage within 30 days increased by 15.7 percent for every single point increase on the readiness to change scale.

Health promotion advocates’ efforts to enhance patient readiness and provide effective interventions are key to reducing morbidity and mortality associated with AUD. With more than 178,000 alcohol-related deaths annually in the U.S., programs such as Project ASSERT are critical to improving the lives of those affected by substance use disorders in our community.

Thank you to health promotion advocates Simone Blake, Gregory Johnson, Shevonne Mack and Brandon Horton, YNHH; Lauren Bruchac, Hamiyd Williams and Maria Gomes, Bridgeport Hospital; and Rashid Changeux and Megan Stanley, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.