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Release: Immediate

Phye to coordinate UI/community program to curb binge drinking

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Julie Phye of Coralville has been appointed coordinator of a University of Iowa/community program to attack the problem of alcohol abuse among young people. She began her new duties Monday, Dec. 16.

Phye will focus on solidifying and strengthening the working relationships between the University of Iowa and the local communities -- including government officials, business owners, and elementary and secondary school administrators -- in an effort to curb binge drinking of alcohol by changing norms, attitudes, policies and practices affecting drinking, on and off campus.

"Julie has all the qualifications we were looking for to fill this position. She knows both the university and the wider communities and moves easily within them, and she has an ability to relate to both adolescents and young college students," said Phillip E. Jones, UI associate provost and dean of students. "Those qualifications will be important as she works to organize the coalitions we will need to tackle this problem."

Funding for the position is being provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, N.J. Earlier this year the UI was named as one of six universities chosen to participate in a new national program, "A Matter of Degree: Reducing High-Risk Drinking Among College Students." The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will provide up to $8.6 million for the seven-year program.

The schools were selected for their innovative model projects addressing the pervasive problem of alcohol abuse among the young. The UI received a one-year development grant of $60,000. On successful completion of the development phase, the UI will be eligible for a five-year planning and implementation grant of about $770,000.

The UI's program, "Stepping Up: A University/Community Action Partnership to Change Alcohol Policy and Use," was written by staff members of the UI Student Health Service and Health Iowa, the educational arm of Student Health. The grant proposal was supported by a number of community groups, including the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce and Iowa City City Council.

A major goal of the program is to form community coalitions to develop policy options to address issues related to high-risk drinking. Some key issues that are likely to be addressed include:
· Increased enforcement against the sale of alcohol to minors in bars;
· An examination of local licensing and zoning policies;
· Implementation of formal and informal campus policies affecting drinking, such as
the serving of alcohol at campus events and enforcement of policies regarding the
use of alcohol in residence halls;
· Increased availability of recreational activities as an alternative to drinking;
· An educational program to increase student awareness of how alcohol abuse affects them.

Before being named project coordinator, Phye taught UI courses in health promotion, women's studies, and student services. She was also assistant director of the Iowa City Ronald McDonald House and worked for Health Iowa, where she helped develop and implement health promotion and disease prevention programs for UI students.

Phye earned her doctorate in counselor education in May 1996 from the UI. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Iowa State University in 1987 and a master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology from ISU in 1989.

She has been active in many UI service organizations, including the Student Health Advisory Committee, the selection committee for the Jean Y. Jew Women's Rights Award, the advisory board of the Women's Resource and Action Center, the Council on the Status of Women, and the steering committee for the Women's Studies Program.