University of Chicago medical students' "Gross!" anatomy lesson to receive national honor

April 7, 1999

WASHINGTON, DC--The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine's Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) program will be recognized on Capitol Hill as one of eight winners of the "1998 Exemplary Substance Abuse Programs" by the United States Department of Health and Human Service's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) this week.

ASAP is a school-based substance abuse prevention program, designed and administered by medical students, that uses a scientific approach to educate fifth through eighth graders about the physiological consequences of drug abuse; normal and drug-damaged organs are used as centerpieces for discussion of how drugs affect the body.

"This is truly a great honor," says Charles Samenow, fourth year medical student and creator of the ASAP program, "this award recognizes over 10,000 volunteer teaching hours that our medical students have given towards this project."

The 1998 Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Programs Award recognizes outstanding grassroots prevention efforts and showcases innovations in prevention that have merit for replication. ASAP programs have been founded at dozens of medical schools in America. The award is co-sponsored by the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) and the National Prevention Network (NPN).

The awards ceremony will be held on April 8, 1999 at 2:00 p.m. in the Raybourn House Office Building (Independence Ave. and South Capitol, SW), Room 2154. An open session for press and photographers precedes the ceremony in the Gold Room at 1:00 p.m.

In 1997, the ASAP program was adopted by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) as the national model of school-based substance abuse prevention for medical schools around the country to use. In the Chicago area, the ASAP program and the partnerships it formed have experienced absolute success. During the past four years, Pritzker students have reached more than 4,000 fifth through eighth graders, and the program has been incorporated into many local schools' official substance abuse prevention curricula.

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