Marianne “Mimi” Fleury, president and co-founder of the Community of Concern of North Bethesda, Md., today received the Senator Harold Hughes Memorial Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., announced her selection during the 132nd meeting of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The Hughes Award recognizes the contributions of a nonresearcher whose work translates research into practice, thereby building bridges across the alcohol prevention, treatment and policy-making communities. The award is named for Harold Hughes, a former Iowa governor and U.S. senator who was a major force behind the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Act of 1970, which created NIAAA. Until his death in 1996, Sen. Hughes remained active in the alcohol field, founding recovery centers and raising awareness about alcohol’s impact on health.
Fleury became involved in addressing the problems of alcohol and drugs as part of her volunteer work on a parents’ committee for Georgetown Preparatory School, a Jesuit high school in Bethesda, a suburb of Washington, D.C. “Our committee saw a real need for a publication, something that could help both parents and students,” said Fleury. In 1999, the group published a booklet, A Parent's Guide for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use. The content has been developed and reviewed by professional researchers and counselors. The publication received critical acclaim from scientific experts and community organizations, including the Caron Foundation Award for Educational Excellence in 2005.
The positive response also led to the founding of the first Community of Concern consortium, an outreach effort to share the booklet with other schools. Soon, parent-teacher groups in other parts of the country began working with the Community of Concern to develop similar programs to build partnerships among parents, students, schools, coalitions and other organizations. To date, the nonprofit organization has distributed nearly 1.9 million copies of the guide in 36 states and five countries. The Community of Concern also offers online information at www.thecommunityofconcern.org.
“For more than a decade, Mimi Fleury has helped establish coalitions across the country to address underage drinking, smoking and substance use,” said Dr. Warren. “Under her leadership, the Community of Concern has developed important science-based resources that have proven effective for parents, school administrators, counselors and students. On behalf of the institute, I am very pleased to present her with the Hughes Award today.”
Fleury, a graduate of Trinity College in Washington, D.C., and the mother of three sons, received the 2000-2001 Parents’ Council of Washington Volunteer of the Year Award for her work. In 2004 she was named a member of the NIAAA Steering Committee on Underage Drinking Research and Prevention. In 2011, she was appointed a member of NIAA’s advisory council, the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.