Friday, 31 May 2013

There's an app for that - National Drugs Campaign app

Jerome (aka the most wonderful library volunteer in the universe) has brought our attention to this app released in 2011 by the Australian government's National Drugs Campaign.

National Drugs Campaign

The app allows you to search for services near you, get drug information, and provides tips to parents and youths.

It's available for free for iPhones through the iTunes store

Staff and Volunteer interviews - Claire Gardner

Welcome to the first of our interview series where we talk to staff and volunteers about the resources they use and recommend.  First cab off the rank is Claire from the PRP team.  She even gives the future Resource Centre website a plug! Thanks Claire!

Name: Claire Gardner

Position & organisation: Policy, Research & Practice Manager, Drug Arm Australasia

Location: Brisbane

The resource (book, journal) that I use the most is… The Prevention of Substance Use, Risk and Harm in Australia*

Because… despite being a few years old it provides a comprehensive review of over 1000 pieces of international Prevention Literature  and considers the Australian perspective.

An online resource I think others should look at is….the soon to be redeveloped Resource Centre website

Because…. it will collate and feature the latest online resources and much more…

I wish I had more information on…The experiences of those working on innovative, practical and evidence informed prevention initiatives

On the weekend you can find me reading…Nothing but social media after a week of research and hours of audio books
*The book Claire is referring to is - Loxley, W. et al. (2004) The Prevention of Substance Use, Risk and Harm in Australia. and it's available for download in full or by chapter here:
Would you be keen to share some of the resources you find useful? Contact us and become the next willing interviewee!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Professional development and MOOCs

What is a MOOC?

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course, and they are gaining popularity.  (Note here that the use of “course” is what some of us would still consider a “subject”.)  Some of the world’s top universities are offering subjects online… to anyone… and they are free. 

What’s in a MOOC?

What’s offered in a MOOC depends on the university or supplier of the course.  Mostly, it’s course material with supporting resources like PDFs, video clips, and pod casts.

Is there assessment to complete?

It depends on the course.  For many MOOCs there is assessment and often you are working collaboratively on a piece of work that is open to viewing by everyone.  Some universities offer MOOCs so that you can choose to do the assessment and get a certificate at the end, or just download the subject material for your own reading (no certificate for that).  Some MOOCs that have assessment have start and finish dates, so you need to be aware of that when searching and enrolling in them.

Is it worth doing a MOOC?

It’s not all free qualifications and rainbows!  At the moment they aren’t recognised by most as being equivalent to completing a subject at a university; however the content offered may be very similar.  Universities aren’t going to start offering entire degrees to anyone who wants them, for free, anytime soon- so a couple of MOOCs are not a replacement for formal qualifications. However, they make a great informal learning/ professional development activity.  If there is a gap in your professional knowledge, why not see if Harvard, Yale or MIT are offering a free subject to fill that gap?? 

How do I find MOOCs?

Useful websites that provide access to MOOCs are: - Includes universities like Princeton, Yale, Brown, and John Hopkins University - Includes universities like Harvard, MIT, Australian National University, and University of Queensland
and homegrown - Includes Griffith University and Macquarie University 

If you have an iPad you can access a number of MOOCs through the iTunes store that have been developed for that device.
Some example MOOCs you may be interested in:

For professional development:
Writing for strategic communication - La Trobe University (available through iTunes U)
Understanding happiness - TED (available through iTunes U)

Also, don’t rule out a MOOC for your hobby or interest. How about Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas? Or perhaps A History of Rock is more your style?

Anyone completed a MOOC before? Or thinking you might? Would love to hear how things go and share your experience with those who are also considering taking one!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Federal Budget at a glance

A quick overview of some of the relevant areas in this week's Federal budget care of the Resource Centre- visit the sources for a more comprehensive overview

Monday, 13 May 2013

Question corner - Others affected by alcohol use

This week we had a library client calling in to see if we could find any statistics on how many people are affected by another's drinking - sometimes referred to as passive drinking.

The client had heard the number was over 10 million people affected (to some degree) in Australia. Wow, in a country nearing 24 million people that's quite a percentage of the population! A reliable reference was needed to confirm this number.

A little digging and the following ongoing research was discovered: "Alcohol's Harm to Others", currently being conducted by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR).

As part of this research a report was published in 2010, “Range and Magnitude of Alcohol’s harms to others” 
You can download a PDF copy of the full report from this page.

The statistics in this report?

They found that 73.3% of people had been negatively affected* by someone else's drinking in the previous 12 months

Were you surprised by this statistic? Lower or higher than you thought?

Don't forget to contact the Resource Centre if you want any help finding stats

*negatively affected = scale from minor annoyance to physical violence and death

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Journal Club Follow-up - Psychological trauma and substance abuse

This month's journal club was focusing on the article:

Dass-Brailsford, P. & Myrick, A.C. (2010). Psychological Trauma and Substance Abuse: The Need for an Integrated Approach. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 11(4), pp. 202-213.
You can find a copy of the abstract here
Some of the key points discussed in the club were:

  •  The article was a validation of the clinicians experience in working with clients – particularly for Indigenous clients and in rural settings. One participant highlighted that the article was a validation of what they were seeing in their day to day practices, but that they weren’t sure that this was something else other clinicians were seeing or that there was research available around the interplay of trauma and substance use                          

  • There was symmetry between the arguments made in the article for integrated treatment and the cultural and core business promoted within the organisation.

  • The discussion participants also raised the idea of trans-generational trauma as well as childhood trauma as linked to substance use

  • Overall the ideas presented in the article were aligned with the experiences of the clinicians and that moving towards trauma-informed practices in the organisation would be beneficial

You may be interested in the following chapter for more information on the effects of transgenerational trauma on Indigenous Communities:

Atkinson, J.; Nelson, J. and Atkinson, C. (2010) Chapt 10 "Trauma, transgerational transfer and the effects on community wellbeing." in Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice. pp135-145

Full text chapter

Full text of complete work

The following toolkit is a Canadian resource so many of the statistics aren't of relevance, but the majority is applicable to anyone wanting to engage in Trauma-informed care.

Klinic Community Health Centre (2008) Trauma-informed: The Trauma-Informed toolkit: a resource for service organizations and providers to deliver services that are trauma informed.

Full text of the complete work

Thanks to Sarah for another great Journal Club topic!

If you want any further info contact the Resource Centre