Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Mid-Atlantic Research and Training Institute (MARTI) will host a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders training event and community presentation on September 9, 2009.

The program is a partnership with the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In addition to MARTI, other IUP program sponsors are the departments of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Sociology, Counseling, and Health and Physical Education; the Center for Student Life; Division of Student Affairs; and the Center for Health and Well-Being. The Indiana County Drug and Alcohol Commission is also a sponsor.

A free community program on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders will be offered September 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Crimson Event Center, Folger Hall, along Pratt Drive. Parking is free on campus after 5:00 p.m.

From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., health professionals will take part in a free day-long educational program. To register for this workshop, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website and select the Training Opportunities page located in the Drug and Alcohol section. Walk-in registrations will be accepted for the workshop.

Officials noted that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (disorders in children caused by the mother's consumption of alcohol during pregnancy) are more common than Down syndrome or autism.

The evening program will be presented by Linda Chicka, a drug and alcohol prevention specialist employed by the ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 Prevention Program in Armstrong and Indiana counties, and Kathrine Muller, a drug and alcohol prevention educator at Altoona Regional Health System.

Chicka has worked in the field of prevention for twenty years with the intermediate unit and the Armstrong-Indiana Drug and Alcohol Commission. She has an elementary teaching degree and coaching certification from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is also a certified prevention specialist through the Pennsylvania Certification Board and an internationally certified prevention specialist through the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium.

Chicka provides evidence-based drug and alcohol curriculum and trainings to schools, businesses, and community organizations. She conducts the Underage Users Program and trains businesses in drug and alcohol testing policies required by the Department of Transportation. She has also served as a liaison and trainer for the Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program.

At the state level, she is an active board member of the Commonwealth Prevention Alliance, Pennsylvania's statewide organization of drug and alcohol prevention professionals. She also serves as a consultant and trainer for Instructional Support Team Trainings through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She has recently become a state trainer through the Pennsylvania Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs and received her training in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders through the national center for excellence.

Muller is a graduate of West Virginia University and holds a master's degree in education from St. Francis University.

She worked as an early childhood and early intervention teacher and consultant and served as a learning coach for the Hilton Early Head Start Special Quest.

She is a trainer for the Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program and is a board member of the Commonwealth Prevention Alliance. She received training through the National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Center for Excellence and Pennsylvania Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs and continues to work with trainer Dan Dubovsky and a national network of professionals in the area of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

For more information, contact Deb Browning at the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 717-783-8200 or or IUP's MARTI office at 724-357-4405.