The following information will provide an overview of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) new tool the Alcohol Intervention Matrix (AIM). NIAAA has long been a leader in researching and disseminating evidence based practice for reducing dangerous drinking and associated consequences.
The 2002 Call to Action (http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/media/TaskForceReport.pdf) marked a critical turning point for campuses and an anxiously awaited road map for effectiveness that was sorely needed. For the first time programmatic interventions were clearly delineated by effectiveness. A 2006 update (http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/1College_Bulletin-508_361C4E.pdf) provided additional guidance on a select few interventions. The next iteration of these reviews and compilations of the research is the Alcohol Intervention Matrix (AIM) (http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/collegeaim/) which refines researched base interventions into free an online tool for program planning purposes. College Aim is designed to guide campus personnel in their efforts while also assisting in moving to higher (e.g. more effective) levels of prevention and early intervention practice, with a secondary gain of increased fidelity to the researched based models.
One way that the AIM nudges towards increased effectiveness is by focusing on individual and environmental strategies with the recognition that important synergies are created through the implementation of a comprehensive approach. The breadth of effective strategic interventions listed in each category (individual and environmental) provides a practical listing, and also implies that a one-size-fits-all approach is a myth.
Detailed descriptions of each strategic intervention allows campus personnel who might know little about alcohol misuse prevention, public health, or health promotion to learning about objectives and outcomes without going to a training, and in a concise manner. Additionally, AIM allows campus personnel to compare interventions, examine how doable they are, and assess resources needed for implementation. These both lead campus professionals to think evaluative about their concerns regarding alcohol issues, and the changes they would like to see at the environmental and individual levels. College AIM also provides worksheets that nudge planners towards a strategic approach.
College AIM clearly indicates which approaches are not evidence based, and could also be used as a pulse check on current efforts