An Eastern Illinois University employee was invited as the only Illinois representative at a national summit focused on behavioral health issues among college students in March.
Eric Davidson, an associate director of EIU’s Health Service, spoke on the nonmedicinal use of prescription drugs to a room full of experts from substance abuse to suicide prevention.
The summit was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
The purpose of the two-day summit was to bring in experts on health issues to review the strategic plan and provide input on how to improve services directed at college-age populations.
Davidson said one of the reasons for his selection is his involvement with the Illinois Higher Education Center (IHEC) and his work within the Health Education Resource Center (HERC).
The IHEC provides training material for health center promotion professionals throughout the state from an Illinois Department of Human Services grant.
“We help others from community colleges to universities who want to develop or enhance their substance abuse prevention programs,” he said.
The center is the only state-funded agency focused completely on providing substance abuse prevention training, consultations, and development to higher education institutions in the state of Illinois. In the country, there are only about 10 to 15 centers similar to IHEC.
“IHEC is giving Eastern a national reach,” he said. “Others are asking us advice throughout the country on how to run substance abuse programs and centers similar to IHEC.”
The connection with state-wide and national professionals also gives EIU’s health professionals access to experts throughout the field, he said.
Davidson is considered to be a national expert in the drug free schools and campuses regulations.
During his time at EIU, he has overseen the expansion of the Health Service's health promotion efforts and advised several student groups including Health Fair Planning Committee, Colleges Against Cancer and Alpha Phi Omega. Davidson has been employed within EIU since 1996.
For more information about the HERC, click here.
For more information about the IHEC, click here.