Save the Date!

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

Conference Focus: Tobacco

Keynote SpeakerMitch Zeller, J.D., Director, FDA Center for Tobacco Products


Andrea Villanti, Ph.D., has been award the SRNT 2018 Jarvik-Russell Early Career Award, honoring members early in their careers who have made extraordinary contributions to the field of nicotine and tobacco research.

Allison N. Kurti, Ph.D., has been hired as assistant professor. Kurti completed her postdoc fellowship with VCBH. 

Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., has earned the 2017 Mentorship Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. This award, established in 2000, is given annually to a member of CPDD who has been an exemplary mentor to developing researchers in the field 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. 

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.

Elias Klemperer, predoctoral fellow, has earned a NIDA Director’s Travel Award for his upcoming presentation at the 79th Annual CPDD Conference. Klemperer was also featured in a SEVEN DAYS article about UVM psychologists bringing therapy to federal prisoners. 


Click for complete lists. 

TCORS: Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science

Vermont Campaign to Change Unhealthy Behavior

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The Vermont Department of Health has created a public service campaign to illustrate the deadly health consequences directly related to low physical activity levels, poor diet and tobacco use. Learn more at 3-4-50.

VCBH Research News

Rawson Part of Opioid Panel at Clinton Health Summit 

17902264_1315440568577381_2472760921693356032_nOn Monday, April 10, President Bill Clinton and three panelists -- including VCBH Research Professor Richard Rawson, Ph.D. -- discussed ways to help "Catalyze Solutions to the Opioid Epidemic." Dr. Rawson has led addiction research and training projects for the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Drosos Foundation and the U.S. State Department, exporting science-based knowledge to many parts of the world. He is currently working with the Vermont Department of Health on a "Hub and Spoke Model" for addiction treatment in the state. In his remarks at the Summit, Rawson said the treatment options out there are effective, but sometimes inaccessible. “Treating this is less complicated then treating diabetes, and it’s less complicated than treating many types of cardiovascular disease and hypertension,” he commented. “They are very affective and they are saving thousands of lives; we just need to get people access to these treatments."

Watch the panel's conversation here.

Fresh off his conversation with President Clinton, Rawson will speak on the "Treatment of Opioid Addiction in Vermont: Is it Working?" at the Brandon Inn, April 27, 7 p.m. His talk is in partnership with Brandon Cares, the Vermont Dept. of Health, and Senator Leahy's Office.

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.

Ades' Cardiac Rehab Expertise Featured in Consumer Reports Article  

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. Even small improvements in physical function can greatly improve quality of life and self-esteem, and lead to overall better health."

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

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“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. 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.  Screening for participant eligibility is available to Vermont residents through the study’s website. Also, watch the WCAX interview with Dr. Hughes about the study.