News & Events


September 15, 2015

Creating Campus Change” in Tribal Colleges and Universities Project Launched

TCU-CCC logoAfter over a year of intensive preparations, the “Creating Campus Change” (CCC) project (Principal Investigator Bonnie Duran, PhD; Co-Investigators Mary Larimer, PhD; Dennis Donovan, PhD; Myra Parker, JD-PhD; and Maya Magarati, PhD) went into the field at 22 tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) throughout the U.S. and Canada during April and May 2015. The CCC project name was coined this year, a combination of the TCU Epi and TCU BASICS studies.
“TCU Epi,” the Tribal Colleges and Universities Behavior Wellness Project (funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Award #5P60MD006909), is the first-ever epidemiological study of drug, alcohol and other substance abuse at TCUs. Results of this study will provide quantitative, empirical evidence to support the anecdotal narratives we hear from Native communities regarding substance use. The findings will also inform intervention programs targeted at combatting drug and alcohol problems among TCU students.

TCU-CCC Infographic
“TCU-BASICS,” the Tribal Colleges and Universities Behavior Wellness Study (funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Award #5R01AA022068), adapts and tests the highly successful “Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students” (BASICS) especially for tribal college students. TCU-BASICS consists of an hour-long motivational interviewing session between a trained TCU counselor and a student. In the session, the counselor and student use personalized feedback about the student’s drinking behavior to catalyze potential reductions in the student’s drinking behavior. In addition to these sessions, the BASICS project’s community-based participatory research partnership with TCUs will also develop a policy and institutional intervention to help implement BASICS, and to integrate the TCUs with local behavioral health systems.

The CCC project is comprised of TCU Epi, which is being conducted at 22 of 23 TCU (the 23rd TCU may join in Fall 2015), and TCU BASICS, which is being conducted at six of the 23 Epi TCU. The data from TCU Epi is serving as the baseline for TCU BASICS: Students who score high on an alcohol consumption measurement score will screen into the program or be in a control group for the BASICS intervention.
Starting in April, the CCC project invited 6,151 randomly-selected students from 22 TCU across 11 states and one Canadian province to take an hour-long, online survey. The expectation is that approximately 40% of TCU students, or 2,501 (of 6,151) will take and complete the survey. As of mid-June 2015, 1,325 students (of 2,501) or 53% of our target response number, had completed the survey.

In order to increase response rates, several student assistants trained in human subjects research will be conducting follow-up telephone calls during Summer 2015. These students will face the typical challenges that bedevil field research: Hang-ups, wrong or no longer functioning contact information, mistrust and occasional hostility. It is the project leaders’ hope that creative problem-solving, perseverance and cultural sensitivity will result in the collection of sufficient data to accurately portray “the lay of the land” in order to plan personal- and institutional-level interventions to address drug, alcohol and other substance abuse issues in TCUs.

For more information about the progress of “Creating Campus Change,” please contact Research Coordinators Leo Egashira (, 206-616-6570) or Tess Abrahamson-Richards ( 206-719-8313).