Save the Date!

VCBH Annual Conference
Oct. 5-6, 2017
Burlington Hilton Hotel

Honors & Awards

Recent accolades and commendations. 

Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., has earned the 2017 Mentorship Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.

John Hughes, M.D., has been named to the inaugural class of SRNT fellows, conferred in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field. 

Elias Klemperer, predoctoral fellow, has earned a NIDA Director’s Travel Award for his upcoming presentation at the 79th Annual CPDD Conference.

John Hughes, M.D., garnered the ATTUD Excellence in Tobacco Treatment, Training and Advocacy Award last year which subsequently been renamed “The John R Hughes ATTUD Excellence in Tobacco Treatment, Training and Advocacy Award."

Philip Ades, M.D., was invested as the inaugural Philip Ades, M.D. Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention on December 16, 2016. 

Sarah Heil, Ph.D., earned the “Mid-Career Investigator Award” at the inaugural Dean’s Excellence in Research event for The Larner College of Medicine.


A sampling of recent papers. 

An article published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings by lead author Philip Ades, M.D., associate director of the VCBH, identifies ways to increase cardiac participation rates from 30 percent to at least 70 percent among eligible patients, which could save 25,000 lives and reduce hospitalizations by 180,000 annually. 

The Lancet published a letter by VCBH Investigator Stacey Sigmon, Ph.D., also the Director of the Chittenden Clinic opioid treatment program, about her project to promote healthy eating among methodone- and buprenorphine-maintained patients. Sigmon collaborated with a local farm to establish a farmstand in the clinic's waiting room. 

Recent research done by Andrea Villanti, Ph.D., new faculty with the VCBH, was published in Tobacco Control. "Changes in the prevalence and correlates of menthol cigarette use in the USA, 2004–2014," reports that more young adult smokers reported favoring menthol cigarettes over non-menthol.

VCBH Director Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., published "Some Recent Developments on Financial Incentives for Smoking Cessation Among Pregnant and Newly Postpartum Women," with UVM research colleague Laura Solomon, in Current Addiction Reports

Direct link to the VCBH special issues of Preventive Medicine

VCBH Research News

Image from the Conversation

VCBH Researchers Collaborate on "Pay People to Stop Smoking?" Article for The Conversation 

Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., director of the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health, collaborated with program trainees, Allison Kurti, Ph.D., and Danielle Davis, on an article for The Conversation about the efficacy of financial incentives, in the form of vouchers, to promote smoking cessation and other health-related behavior change, especially among vulnerable populations. 

"Pay People to Stop Smoking? It Works, Especially in Vulnerable Groups," has been picked up by multiple national media outlets including Salon.com. Considering that cigarette smoking still kills about 480,000 people in the U.S. annually and five million globally – and accounts for nearly US$170 billion in direct medical care for American adults – Higgins explains that "using financial incentives to decrease smoking merits serious consideration."

Importantly, Higgins adds, "the potential utility and efficacy of financial incentives extends beyond smoking to a broad range of challenging health problems in vulnerable populations including prevention of unplanned pregnancies among opioid-dependent women and the increasing participation of economically disadvantaged cardiac patients in cardiac rehabilitation."

The Conversation article was based on a paper, Financial Incentives for Reducing Smoking and Promoting Other Health-Related Behavior Change in Vulnerable Populations, also co-written by Higgins, Kurti and Davis, in Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Vaping & Withdrawal: Exploring the Body's Response to Quitting E-CigsHughes_John pict

“Electronic cigarettes are currently the fastest-growing tobacco harm-reduction product,” says VCBH researcher and Larner College of Medicine Psychiatry Professor John Hughes, M.D., who is leading a new study to determine whether or not stopping e-cigarettes will lead to withdrawal symptoms. “It is very unclear whether e-cigarettes would cause withdrawal. E-cigarette users obtain nicotine levels that are higher than those from nicotine replacement products like gums and lozenges (which Hughes has previously found are not addicting). On the other hand, the nicotine levels are usually smaller than those from tobacco cigarettes, plus e-cigarettes do not produce as rapid an increase in nicotine as tobacco cigarettes.” 

Hughes’ lab, in partnership with Battelle Public Health Center for Tobacco Research Laboratory in Baltimore, Md., is in the process of recruiting 120 long-term users of e-cigarettes for the National Cancer Institute-funded study. Participants will use their own e-cigarette as normal for the first week and then enter a week of e-cigarette abstinence. Participants will report symptoms of nicotine withdrawal nightly via telephone. They will also visit the lab three times each week to provide breath and urine samples to verify use or abstinence, and complete brief surveys. Participants will obtain extra reimbursement if they remain abstinent. Screening for participant eligibility is available to Vermont residents through the study’s website.

Ades' Cardiac Rehab Expertise Featured in Consumer Reports Article on Heart-Attack Recovery 

Ades Endowed Professor

VCBH Associate Director and UVM Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine Philip Ades, M.D., provided his cardiac rehab expertise for a recent Consumer Reports Health article entitled, "What's Missing from Your Heart-Attack Recovery Plan." Part of the problem, as Ades explains, is the lack of geographically available options. "There are too few in many big cities, and in rural areas you could be a 3-hour drive from the nearest cardiac rehabilitation center,” he says. “Physical activity improves fitness, and if fitness is improved it’s easier to do daily activities. According to the AHA, even small improvements in physical function can greatly improve quality of life and self-esteem, and lead to overall better health..and in terms of what individuals can do to help themselves, nothing is more useful than a regular walking program.”