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Week of February 1, 2010

Spotlight

Alcohol management coordinator helps 
people make changes

Teresa Herzog Mourad teaches people how to drink less alcohol or none at all. As a coordinator for the MHealthy Alcohol Management Program, her work involves teaching abstinence skills to all clients, and for those who can moderate their consumption how to adhere to CDC guidelines or drink in a light, occasional manner.

Photo by Scott Soderberg, U-M Photo Services

The MHealthy AMP is a very unique program because it offers people a choice: cutting down or stopping altogether. “Alcohol causes a great deal of preventable harm and suffering. We help clients focus on alcohol as the true health issue it is.”

The desire to help people change is what first led Herzog Mourad to pursue a career in alcohol education. Originally from Flint, she moved to Ann Arbor as a transfer student to U-M, first getting her bachelor’s degree in education, then receiving a combined master’s degree in education and public health.

“I am constantly inspired by the changes people make in their alcohol related attitudes and behaviors,” she says.

Now working for the university, Herzog Mourad says, “A typical day is very interesting and rewarding.” She and her colleagues talk to people from all over the country, either in person or over the phone, and teach strategies that are effective in changing their alcohol consumption behavior.

Some of the strategies Herzog Mourad practices include spacing and pacing alcohol consumption, setting challenging and realistic goals, substitution and refusal skills. The program is offered in groups and individually. She also uses Center for Disease Control guidelines, “to help people essentially write their own prescription for alcohol, if they decide to use it.”

When not working as a counselor and coordinator, Herzog Mourad still strives to make a difference. “I do weekly volunteer work as a patient advocate,” she says. She also likes to cook and spends as much time as she can with her husband and two sons.

To keep herself healthy, Herzog Mourad does Bikram yoga. This style of hot yoga that involves rooms reaching a temperature of 105 degrees is designed to strengthen and invigorate the entire body.

“It is really challenging and I love the heat,” she says.

Herzog Mourad knows that it can be a struggle to live healthily. “What I have learned is that if I don’t fit exercise in, everything is harder and I feel too stressed,” she says. “I find that exercise gives me energy and a piece of mind.”

In addition to exercise, Herzog Mourad also monitors her diet. “MHealthy has influenced our potlucks and parties at work,” she explains. “We’re having salad and fruit bars and lower fat choices. This makes it easier (to eat healthy) at work.”

A healthy life, Herzog Mourad thinks, is in greater reach due to the MHealthy program.

 

The weekly Spotlight features staff members at the university. To nominate a candidate, please contact the Record staff aturecord@umich.edu.

 

STAFF SPOTLIGHT

Teresa Herzog Mourad, on her favorite part of her job: “I am constantly inspired by changes people make in their alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors.”