The Center for Alcohol Studies was established in 2004 under the Health System Research Institute (HSRI) at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Rajanagarindra Institute, with Dr. Bundit Sornpaisarn as the first director. The primary goal of CAS is to support creation of knowledge on management of alcohol problems and the application of said knowledge in alcohol policy advocacy. In other words, CAS is a knowledge management organization. The mission of CAS consists of two activity arms. The first arm is research through selection, funding support, and improving the quality of supported research. The second arm is the application of research findings, including communicating to the public and stakeholders in various formats, creating mechanisms for exchange of ideas, especially the annual Alcohol Study Forums.
During its initial years, from the foundation up to 2008, Dr. Bundit Sornpaisarn was the key player in producing CAS‘s original research, most of which were secondary studies in collaboration with other organizations, as well as normative work including the Annual Alcohol Report. Dr. Bundit Sornpaisarn also played a key role in advocating various alcohol policies and served on the Alcohol Beverage Control Act Drafting Committee of the National Legislative Council.
In 2008, CAS supported the International Health Policy Program (IHPP) in the Alcohol Policy Research (APR) Project with Dr. Thaksapol Thammarangsi as the Project Manager. The goal of the Project is to serve as a mechanism to develop new alcohol policy researchers under the direction and supervision of CAS. During this period, CAS started conducting primary in-house research through the APR Project.
In 2009, Dr. Thaksapol Thammarangsi succeeded Dr. Bundit Sornpaisarn as the Director of CAS and re-structured CAS and moved CAS from HSRI to be under IHPP’s Health Promotion Policy Group. The APR project was disbanded, and researchers under APR were re-assigned as full-time CAS staff.
From then on, the role of CAS expanded to include research management, original research, and capacity building. CAS relies on the principle of building capacity in four aspects: personal capacity, organizational capacity, network capacity, and the overall system’s capacity. This principle serves as the basis for CAS‘ network development efforts in recent years, including capacity building for academic and other sections in Thailand and in the world stage.
In recent years, CAS has also worked at the international level by developing global policy and standard, assisting overseas partner organizations in alcohol policy advocacy, engaging in international collaborations, organizing conferences and workshops, collaborating with the World Health Organization, serving as the resource person and consultant for overseas organization, with the Global Alcohol Policy Conference (GAPC) as the crowning achievement where CAS serves as the Conference Secretariat, as well as organizing a forum for South and East Asian nations on global alcohol policy.