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Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Coalition

Our annual Family Zone (an alcohol-free and tobacco-free area on the Maple Leaf Parade Route) was another great success this year! Thank you to our 2013 sponsors, dedicated volunteers, and most of all, everyone who attended! 


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Please "like" our Facebook page at to stay updated on the Family Zone!

Read the latest update (2012) of the Burden of Risky Alcohol Use in La Crosse County.

Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior partnership awarded $750,000 grant

The five-year grant was awarded to the partnership between the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium and the Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin to support and sustain safe community alcohol practices and policies to help discourage alcohol misuse in La Crosse County. This project is funded by the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program, a component of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  The grant began in July 2012.


Community partners, back row: Al Bliss, Catherine Kolkmeier, Officer Andy Dittman and Jeremy Arney. Front row: Pat Ruda, Tracy Herlitzke and Brenda Rooney

Mission and Vision

The mission of the Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Community Coalition is to reduce the adverse effects of alcohol-related injuries and deaths by 1) creating a safer environment that supports safer choices* and 2) reducing underage access to and use of alcohol.

The vision of the Coalition is a community in which alcohol is consumed legally and safely without resulting in injury either to those drinking or those who are not.

Coalition Background:

In April 2007, the Medical College of Wisconsin's Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program awarded a Development Grant to a partnership of the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium and MCW's Injury Research Center to develop a strategic plan for reducing and preventing injuries related to alcohol use and abuse among 12-24 year-olds in La Crosse County.

Outcomes of the 2007 Project

  • A Burden of Alcohol-Related Injury Report, which calculates the economic impact on the community for law enforcement, medical, rehabilitation, and lost work costs of alcohol-related injury. The coalition is planning to complete another Burden Report in 2012.
  • An Asset Inventory Report, which lists prevention programs, educational tools, medical departments, intervention services, rehabilitation programs, and other assets in the community that help offset or prevent the effects of alcohol-related injury.
  • An Evidence-Based Strategic Plan, which will use the above reports to create a three-year plan for preventing and reducing alcohol-related injuries among 12-24 year-olds in La Crosse County. The coalition has recently completed a five year strategic plan in June of 2011 and will now reach even a broader sector of people ages 18-55.

The coalition continues to add new members from our community including law enforcment, mental health, and youth-serving organizations.  We awarded mini grants to youth and student groups to plan, implement, and evaluate alcohol-free events and projects that emphasize drinking alternatives and education of peers. We continue our work with law enforcement in the County to provide Responsible Beverage Server training, party patrols and alcohol compliance checks on a consistant basis.  Other outreach includes Strenghtening Families training conducted by our facilitators, and a Parents Who Host Lose the Most campaign during prom and graduation season throughout the county.

With the completion of the Strategic Plan, the Coalition applied for and received $300,000 from the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program to implement the plan over three years, focusing on underage drinking prevention.  This work includes providing Responsible Beverage Service training to tavern and community volunteer servers, supporting overtime for local law enforcement to conduct compliance checks and party patrols, conducting a Parents Who Host Lose the Most publicity campaign each spring, and providing minigrants to local student and youth groups to design and implement alcohol-free alternatives for socializing.

In addition to this funding, the Coalition also received three years of funding through the State of Wisconsin Department of Health's Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, which focuses on preventing binge drinking and is one of four such grants in the state.  This project focuses on coalition development and training, working with local festivals to increase alcohol safety, working with media to increase awareness, and working with local college and university campuses to review and strengthen their alcohol-related policies.

Next Steps:

Starting in July 2012, the coalition began to work towards sustaining the practices established and tested during the previous stages of the project by working with local communities, students, parents, governments, and businesses to use internal and public policies to create funding streams and support for keeping the practices that work in place.  

Injury Research Center

Resources and Information

News and Media
Project Partners

Please Join us for our Next Coalition Meeting

March 25, 2014
Common Ground Campus Ministry
(14th & Pine St., La Crosse)

Looking for more information or want to get involved?

Email us

Or call us at (608) 785-5148

La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium | 1300 Badger St., Office 3065, La Crosse, WI 54601, U.S.A. | Phone: (608) 785-5150 | Fax: (608) 785-5154

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