Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Students to present at global conference

Two La Follette School students will be sharing results of a group cost-benefit analysis at a leading global health and social entrepreneurship conference March 28-29 in Connecticut.


Diana Rosales Mitte

Austin Kate

Kate Austin

Kate Austin and Diana Rosales Mitte will discuss a program in Zambia to prevent and reduce harm harmful alcohol consumption patterns.

"We will to pitch our idea for a start-up program during one of the conference's social impact labs," Austin says. "After our pitch, there will be a 20-minute discussion with two expert conference speakers, questions and answers, and feedback from the audience."

"In Zambia, nearly nine out of 10 drinkers consume alcohol at levels that increase personal health risk and societal harms, including HIV transmission, violence, and productivity losses," Rosales Mitte says. "Our idea for a solution is to partner with local clinics and faith-based nongovernmental organizations to implement a screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment program for alcohol abuse."

The two prepared the original study with fellow public affairs students Michelle Duren, Ben Emmel and Alex Straka for the cost-benefit analysis course taught by David Weimer.

The team recommended that its client, Kingdom Workers Lutheran Health Alliance, implement a pilot program in Mwembeshi, a rural community in Central Province, Zambia. "However, because our results are sensitive to the success rate of the program, we also recommend that Lutheran Health Alliance monitor the success rate of the pilot program," Austin says.

"The expected result is a 20 percent reduction of harmful alcohol consumption and $2,600 of benefits per treated individual over four years," Rosales Mitte says. "Benefits include reduced health-care utilization, increased quality of life, increased productivity, and avoided crime and traffic accidents."

Rosales Mitte and Austin will join 2,200 professionals and students at Yale University for the Global Health & Innovation Conference, presented by Unite for Sight, a nonprofit organization that applies best practices in eye care, public health, volunteerism, and social entrepreneurship.