Prevention Strategies, the UNCG spinoff company co-founded by faculty member David Wyrick, has sold its online alcohol abuse prevention program for college students to Outside The Classroom, the largest provider of prevention programs to universities.
Wyrick (in visual) and his business partner, Melodie Fearnow-Kenney, will continue to consult with Outside The Classroom about the program they created, College Alc. Based in Needham, Mass., Outside The Classroom offered its flagship program, AlcoholEdu, to more than one-third of all first-year students at the nation’s four-year colleges and universities during the past year.
As part of the sale, UNCG will receive a two-year membership in Outside The Classroom’s Alcohol Prevention Coalition, a $30,000 value. Coalition membership offers training opportunities and access to the company’s latest research and analysis.
The move, like other recent deals, allows Prevention Strategies to concentrate on its core business, says Wyrick, an associate professor of public health education. “What we do best is research and development. That’s what we want to focus on.”
“When we reach financial arrangements with various partners, we could put the money in our pockets, we could start building a sales force, but instead we pour almost all that money back into research and development. That’s what we want to continue to do.”
Wyrick’s success shows that the traditional areas of university technology transfer aren’t the only avenues for commercialization of campus innovation, says Jerry McGuire, associate vice chancellor for economic development.
“David has really hit a home run with this,” McGuire says. “Some people would think research in public health education can’t be commercialized. David’s work proves otherwise.
“The thing UNCG brings to the table is innovation in all aspects of the university. We’ve successfully promoted the commercialization of UNCG innovation in such areas as music, education, social sciences and the humanities. We’ve touched base just about everywhere on campus.”
The agreement with Outside The Classroom is only the latest milestone in an eventful year for Prevention Strategies. It finalized a deal in the fall giving the National Center for Drug Free Sport exclusive third-party rights to market and sell myPlaybook, its web-based substance abuse prevention program for college athletes. The center performs drug testing of student-athletes for the NCAA.
Also in the fall, the NCAA, the National Center for Drug Free Sport and the Southern Conference paid $20,000 for Prevention Strategies to make site visits and audit drug testing and drug education programs at 11 member institutions in the Southern Conference, which includes UNCG. In addition to providing feedback to the conference and its members, the audit will help shape Prevention Strategies’ future work, Wyrick says.
The NCAA also provided $2,000 grants to 54 institutions to support their use of myPlaybook.
On the horizon, the company plans to conduct a pilot study of myPlaybook High School, a new edition of the web-based program originally designed for athletes at colleges and universities, at a charter high school in Chicago during the next academic year.
The majority of the alcohol and drug abuse prevention program is designed for all high school students, Wyrick says. The remaining 25 percent is specifically for athletes.