Welcome

The Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH), led by Director Stephen T. Higgins, PhD, is an interdisciplinary research center committed to investigating relationships between personal behavior patterns (i.e., lifestyle) and risk for chronic disease and premature death. Our work has historically focused on health disparities for the most vulnerable populations, particularly among the socioeconomically disadvantaged where these risk factors are overrepresented.

 

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Located in Burlington, VT at the University of Vermont, Larner College of Medicine, VCBH researchers have a specific focus on understanding mechanisms underpinning risk and developing effective interventions and policies to promote healthy behavior. A common thread across VCBH research projects is the application of knowledge from the disciplines of behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology to increase understanding of vulnerability to unhealthy behavior and the use of incentives and other behavioral and pharmacological interventions to support healthy behavior change interventions and policies.

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Upcoming VCBH Events

Monthly Lecture Series
View videos and slides from our FY22 series
on our FY22 Archives Page.

We'll be back on September 21, 2022 for our new series with Dr. Steven Shoptaw from UCLA.

 

VCBH Career Opportunities

Check back soon for openings.


VCBH has one postdoctoral opening with Dr. Sarah Heil.

Visit our Career Opportunities page to learn more about open positions and how to apply.

 

VCBH News

Project Leader Sherrie Khadanga, MD Receives Inaugural Award

May 11, 2022 by Nicole Twohig

VCBH Project Leader Sherrie Khadanga, MD received the inaugural Wohlgemuth Fellowship Award in March for her proposed study titled “Remote Smoking Cessation in Hospitalized Cardiac Patients: Bridging the Post-discharge Care Gap.”

VCBH Project Leader Sherrie Khadanga, MD received the inaugural Wohlgemuth Fellowship Award in March for her proposed study titled “Remote Smoking Cessation in Hospitalized Cardiac Patients: Bridging the Post-discharge Care Gap.” Dr. Khadanga and her team are proposing to examine new strategies for helping patients hospitalized for an acute coronary event adhere to smoking cessation. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of financial incentives and nicotine replacement therapy in promoting smoking abstinence at 3 months. Building on their strong published and preliminary data, we believe that a combined behavioral and pharmacologic smoking cessation intervention started in hospital and continued remotely can bridge the post-hospital care gap and support patients through a critical period in cardiac recovery where risk of smoking relapse is high. 

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and while smoking rates have declined in the U.S., this has not been observed in cardiac populations. Surprisingly, having a serious cardiac event, such as a myocardial infarction (MI) may not be enough to promote sustained cessation. This has major implications regarding morbidity and mortality as those who fail to quit are much more likely to have a recurrent MI or cardiovascular disease events. Continued smoking is associated with a host of negative outcomes such as impaired fitness, lower quality of life and psychosocial outcomes, and not attending secondary prevention programs such as cardiac rehabilitation.

The University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine Department of Medicine’s Wohlgemuth Cardiology Research Fellowship fosters the research mission of the department by providing funds to support promising investigators and innovative research related to heart disease. The request for proposals was targeted at trainees, early career faculty or later stage faculty newly pursuing research to provide funds for highly meritorious, milestone-driven research that will enhance the awardee’s competitiveness for future extramural funding proposals and research productivity.