Vermont health officials are looking for 3,000 Vermonters between 12 and 25 who are willing to share their thoughts on state substance-abuse prevention efferts.
The new PACE Vermont study is an attempt to better understand how state policies and communication strategies effect the behavior of young people. Participants will complete three online surveys over a six-month period to gauge their knowledge of public campaigns to prevent tobacco, alcohol and drug use.
PACE, which stands for Policy and Communication Evaluation, “gets to the heart of understanding what young Vermonters think, feel and do when it comes to substance use, policies and health campaigns,” said Christie Vallencourt, who is leading the effort for the Vermont Health Department.
The department is partnering with the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine to conduct the survey and gather the data.
Andrea Villanti, an associate professor of pyschology and psychological science, said the study is designed to be “flexible and nimble.”
“We see great value in the ability to inform substance use prevention efforts based on what’s happening right now in the lives of teens and young adults,” she said.
State Health Commissioner Mark Levine said the findings be a “valuable” addition to the state’s other collections of data on Vermont youth.
“The near real-time aspect of the PACE Vermont survey will give us timely and unique insights into what young people are thinking right now about behaviors, practices and our efforts to impact them,” he said.
Officials say about 300 people have so far signed up to take the surveys. Parents will need to provide permission for minor children to participate. They will have access to key findings, although individual survey responses will remain confidential.
Participants can earn $50 in online gift cards for completing all three surveys.