Harm Reduction Talking Circles

2020-02-17 18:20:56 | BioPortfolio


This randomized clinical trial will compare participants who receive HaRTC versus the treatment-as-usual-only control arm to see if HaRTC helps SIHB patients who meet criteria for an alcohol use disorder to increase their engagement in cultural practices, enhance their quality of life, and reduce their alcohol-related harm above and beyond existing services at SIHB.


HaRTC refers to an alcohol treatment that integrates the traditional Native practice of talking circles with harm reduction, a low-barrier approach to substance-use treatment that does not require sobriety or use reduction. The HaRTC study is a 5-year collaboration between WSU, UW, and Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB). It is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health. In this study, researchers from WSU and UW are working together with community members who have Native heritage and lived experience of alcohol problems as well as with traditional health professionals, staff and management at SIHB. As a team, the researchers will tailor, implement, and evaluate HaRTC as a culturally appropriate treatment for patients at SIHB who experience alcohol problems.

This study is divided into three phases:

Phase 1: During one-on-one interviews and focus groups, WSU and UW researchers asked patients, traditional healers, staff and management at SIHB how to best tailor HaRTC.

Phase 2: The researchers assembled a community action board comprised of Native community members who have lived experience as well as traditional health professionals, staff and management at SIHB to refine the HaRTC treatment manual and procedures to best fit the needs, setting and values at SIHB based on their own lived experiences and on the findings from Phase 1.

Phase 3: In the final phase of this larger 3-phase treatment development and evaluation project, the researchers will conduct a randomized clinical trial of the adapted Harm Reduction Talking Circles (HaRTC) program. Participants (N=280) in the RCT will report Native heritage, be at least 21 years of age, meet criteria for a current alcohol use disorder, and receive services at SIHB. Participants will provide informed consent and will be randomized (like flipping a coin) to receive either HaRTC or services as usual at SIHB so the investigators can evaluate whether HaRTC is a helpful addition to existing services. Participants will be asked questions about their involvement in cultural practices, alcohol use and quality of life prior to randomization, after the HaRTC ends, and at 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-up interviews. It is expected that HaRTC will help patients increase their engagement with cultural traditions, enhance their quality of life, and reduce their experience of alcohol-related harm. If so, the research team will work with SIHB to make this intervention sustainable for its community members.

Study Design


Alcohol Use Disorder




Not yet recruiting


Washington State University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2020-02-17T18:20:56-0500

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