Mark Your Calendars

The 5th Annual VCBH Conference is set for October 5-6, 2017 at the Burlington Hilton.


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

Honors & Awards

Recent accolades and commendations. 

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.

Ivori Zvorsky, predoctoral fellow, won the Outstanding Student Poster Award at the ABCT Conference.

Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., was elected into the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research.

John Hughes, M.D., is the inaugural recipient of the ATTUD Excellence in Tobacco Treatment, Training and Advocacy Award.

Brian Sprague, Ph.D., received an "Article of the Year" award from American Journal of Epidemiology for “Variation in breast cancer–risk factor associations by method of detection: results from a series of case-control studies." 

VCBH Research News

Sigmon Reports on Study of Waitlisted Opioid-Dependent Adults in New England Journal of Medicine, Results Make National Headlines


In rural states like Vermont, opioid-dependent adults desperate for treatment often find themselves stuck on a wait list, sometimes for eight months or more, increasing their risk of continuing to use illicit opioids, contract an infectious disease, overdose and prematurely die.  However, this problem isn’t limited to Vermont – a full 96 percent of states in the U.S. have opioid dependence rates that exceed medication-assisted treatment availability. Stacey Sigmon, Ph.D., an addiction research expert with the VCBH and an associate professor in psychiatry at the University of Vermont, has seen the problem firsthand as the director of the Chittenden Clinic Opioid Treatment Program based in Burlington. Vermont’s largest methadone clinic, the Chittenden Clinic recently increased capacity from 400 to 1,000 patients, but waitlists for treatment persist.

Sigmon conducted a study to test an “Interim Buprenorphine Treatment” (IBT) regimen for waitlisted opioid-dependent adults. The results debut in the New England Journal of Medicine on December 22, 2016. In her National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded study, participants were randomized to receive IBT or continued “Waitlist Control” for three months. IBT participants received buprenorphine maintenance dispensed via a small computerized device, daily monitoring calls via an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) phone system, and IVR-generated random call-backs. IBT participants made bi-weekly clinic visits for assessment, at which time urine specimens were collected under staff observation and analyzed immediately for opioids and other drugs. Not only did IBT participants achieve far more illicit opioid abstinence, they also demonstrated greater reductions in their frequency of injection drug use and also in psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. 

Read coverage of IBT by the Associated Press. 

Investiture of Philip Ades as Endowed Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

PhilAdes_420x280University of Vermont President Tom Sullivan and Larner College of Medicine Dean Frederick Morin, M.D., invested Philip Ades, M.D., associate director of the VCBH, professor of medicine and director of cardiac rehabilitation and preventive medicine, as the inaugural Philip Ades, M.D. Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention on December 16, 2016. The Ades Professorship in Cardiovascular Disease  honors the significant impact of the cardiac rehabilitation and disease prevention work performed by Ades over his more than thirty-year-long career at UVM. Dedicated to improving the lives of thousands of patients with heart conditions, Ades has conducted world-class research on the important role exercise can play in rehabilitation after a heart attack and the benefits of weight loss in obese coronary heart disease patient. Read the full story here. 

VCBH's Special Journal Issue on Chronic Health Challenges

As health care systems in the United States and other industrialized countries are adapting to accommodate the increasing negative impact of cigarette smoking, other substance abuse and obesity, science is turning to personal behavior change for solutions. To share the latest research in effectively managing these problems, Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., UVM professor of psychiatry and VCBH director, collaborated with experts on a third annual special issue of the journal Preventive Medicine. “We devote considerable space to the longstanding challenges of reducing cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco and nicotine delivery products in vulnerable populations, obesity, and for the first time food insecurity,” Higgins writes in his introduction. “Across each of these topics we include contributions from highly accomplished policymakers and scientists to acquaint readers with recent accomplishments as well as remaining knowledge gaps and challenges.” 

VCBH Director and Former Postdoc Publish in Pediatrics

Yukiko Washio, Ph.D., former postdoc fellow with the VCBH and current research faculty member in Behavioral Health and Nutrition at the University of Delaware, collaborated with VCBH Director Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., among others, on an paper recently accepted by the journal Pediatrics. The article is entitled, "Incentive-based Intervention to Maintain Breastfeeding among Low-income Puerto Rican Mothers."