If you're looking for the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) you have come to the right place. We have some exciting news about our organization. We have a new name! MOFAS has officially been renamed Proof Alliance. Our mission remains the same: to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and to improve the quality of life for people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
We now have the proof that prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of brain injury in children. We have the proof that FASD is 100% preventable and people living with an FASD can reach 100% of their potential.
We seek to build powerful alliances with people with an FASD, their families, legislators, experts in the field, new partners, and community members to bring awareness, research, and services to this field.
Proof Alliance is rebranding, expanding, and we're moving! We have a new logo, website, and prevention campaign to help change the norms around drinking during pregnancy. And in May 2019 we will be moving to a stand-alone building. Proof Alliance commits to the people of Minnesota and we will continue to develop transformative programs to help Minnesotans impacted by FASD.
By: Ruth Richardson
Last week more than 400 attendees from Minnesota, Canada, and six other states convened at the Minneapolis Marriott NW in Brooklyn Park, MN for the 2nd Annual FASD matters conference. This year’s theme was exploring the spectrum and I have reflected on the inspiring day and a half event knowing many individuals left the conference with greater enthusiasm, renewed hopes, and new connections.
The opening keynote session entitled “Exploring the Spectrum” set the foundation for the entire conference. The expert panel presentation moderated by Dr. Jeff Wozniak included several other experts: Dr. Chris Boys, Jeff Noble, Georgiana Wilton, and Susan Shepard Carlson that explored the spectrum and the intersection with health and research; education, family support, social services, and justice.
Another highlight of the conference was the inspiring keynote presented by Kari Fletcher entitled “A Spectrum of Supports for Better Outcomes.” Kari’s speech began with a tragic story of a young man with an FASD that through a series of events became involved with the criminal justice system and ultimately committed suicide. Kari shared this tragic story to inspire each of us to take a stand to ensure that individuals in the justice system are trained to identify and effectively to respond to individuals with an FASD.
In addition to the compelling keynote sessions, there were a number of exciting and timely breakout sessions for attendees to choose from. The goal was to create a conference that provided a diverse range of choices for attendees. I think we achieved that goal. We heard from a number of attendees that they had a difficult time selecting which breakout session to attend as there were so many great options!
One attendee writes, “First I want to say thank you to the staff at MOFAS, the excellent presenters, the engaged professionals, and the wonderful families that helped make this year’s conference such a great experience. I learned so much and met so many great people and during the conference I think I discovered some of my own stigma about FASD.”
There was so much excitement, energy and positivity generated at the event. Many attendees left with a renewed focus and a commitment to ensure that the mission of MOFAS is promoted and to carry forward messages of prevention, eradicating stigma associated with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and ensuring that families and individuals impacted by an FASD are identified and supported. There is still much work to be done, but so many of our attendees are up to the task! There has been so much buzz and excitement following the conference. We at MOFAS are excited to see what comes from all this amazing synergy.