News Home Page
News Releases
Faculty Experts
Campus Update
Campus Stock Photos
Media Relations Office


News Website



$1.4 Million Awarded to University Counseling Center to Combat Campus Alcohol Abuse

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 20, 2005) -- The University at Albany's Counseling Center received a $1.4 million grant from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to fund interventions with college students at high risk for alcohol and substance abuse.

"Underage drinking is a persistent problem that high schools, colleges, parents and communities must face—collaboratively and head-on," said University President Kermit L. Hall. "The SAMHSA grant will help us advance the ground-breaking work that our counselors are making towards this challenge."

"The SAMHSA grant will allow us to develop a collaborative program between medical and mental health service providers to identify and offer specialized and responsive services to high risk drinkers," said Estela M. Rivero, director, University Counseling Center. "By addressing another population of high risk drinkers, this project in concert with the other two grant-driven projects, adds a significant pillar to our comprehensive alcohol prevention and intervention program."

The project director and principal investigator is M. Dolores Cimini, psychologist and director of UAlbany's award-winning Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program. Project service coordinators and co-principal investigators include: Matthew Martens, assistant professor, department of counseling psychology; Estela M. Rivero and Peter A. Vellis, D.O., medical director, University Health Center. Effects of the Screening and Brief Interventions (SBI) will be measured both on individuals and on other factors such as campus crime rates, student referrals to the judicial system, alcohol-related health concerns and incidents involving the treatment of alcohol-related emergencies, including alcohol poisoning.

The University's efforts to expand their award-winning alcohol abuse prevention research and services this year have generated more than $2.6 million in funding. In June, the University received $295,000 from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to fund Project First STEPS, an initiative to identify and treat high-risk drinkers among first-year college students. In September, 2004, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) awarded UAlbany $890,000 to research interventions that prevent or reduce alcohol-related problems among college students.

"A person's life is shaped in late adolescence and early adulthood," SAMHSA administrator Charles Curie said. "Drug and alcohol abuse can seriously derail an individual's emotional and social growth. College and university health service centers provide an ideal setting to identify and intervene early to help keep students on track towards healthy and productive lives."

The University at Albany is a leader in campus alcohol and drug abuse prevention initiatives with a 15-year history of commitment to fostering campus-community coalitions, providing educational programs and enforcing University alcohol and drug policies. The University Counseling Center's Middle Earth program received a USDE Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Model Program Grant in 2000 and also was the recipient of a 2001 Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Program Award by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services.


The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages more than 16,000 diverse students in nine degree-granting schools and colleges. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit

Please send questions or comments about the UAlbany News site to: