|October 16, 2002
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Five Who Have Revolutionized Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention Are Recognized, Will Conduct Innovative Projects
Innovators given Robert Wood Johnson Foundation award for their leadership in the field
(Princeton, NJ, October 16, 2002) - The scientist who first measured the effects of secondhand smoke. Co-creators of a treatment model that enables large numbers of people to stop their substance abuse. A trailblazing lawyer who has protected the rights of people in recovery. The activist surgeon leading efforts to change laws that discourage doctors from counseling alcohol-abusing trauma patients. These are the thought leaders in the substance abuse field who have been named as recipients of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's 2002 Innovators Combating Substance Abuse award.
"Substance abuse is our nation's most serious health problem, yet those working in this field are often not accorded the same respect as other professionals," says J. Michael McGinnis, MD, Senior Vice President and Director of the Health Group at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "We believe that, instead, innovations in substance abuse treatment and prevention should be recognized, and that those creating these innovations should be encouraged to achieve even more. The Innovators award does just that, and enables these creative individuals to work on leading edge projects they might not be able to otherwise undertake."
Innovators Combating Substance Abuse is a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that recognizes and rewards those who have made substantial, innovative contributions of national significance in the field of substance abuse. Each award includes a grant of $300,000, which is used to conduct a project over a period of up to three years that advances the field. The program addresses problems related to alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs through education, advocacy, treatment, and policy research and reform at the national, state, and local levels.
"These individuals have helped to change the landscape in the substance abuse arena," says Judy Schector, Interim Director of the Innovators program. "They have changed policy, revolutionized treatment and protected the public's health." Substance abuse is the nation's number one health problem. There are more deaths, illnesses, and disabilities from substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition. Over 500,000 deaths each year are linked-- directly or indirectly-- to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Substance abuse also harms family life, the economy and public safety. Although all segments of society are involved, minority groups are affected disproportionately.
The 2002 Innovators Combating Substance Abuse and their projects are:
Carlo D. DiClemente, PhD is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). DiClemente is co-creator of the Transtheoretical Model of Change, a model that identifies stages of change and other factors that predict treatment outcomes and allows many more people to enter substance abuse treatment programs at earlier stages of readiness. In his Innovator project, DiClemente will conduct a study that he hopes will provide a set of measures that guide and predict the success of drug addiction treatment. He will also convene a conference of leaders in substance abuse treatment who have adopted the Transtheoretical Model to discuss and publish their findings on how the model provides a framework for effective treatment.
Larry M. Gentilello, MD, FACS is Chief of the Division of Trauma and Critical Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Associate Professor in Harvard Medical School's Department of Surgery, both in Boston, Massachusetts. Gentilello has carried out studies that demonstrate that nearly 70% of patients test positive for one or more intoxicants when they present with serious injuries at the some of the nation's largest trauma centers. He has been able to show that a 30-minute conversation with a counselor can drastically reduce the chances of another serious trauma in the same individual. Yet, current laws penalize both the health professional and patient if alcohol or illicit drug use is noted in patient records, by denying insurance coverage for the patient's care. Working with legislative, medical and industry groups, Gentilello plans to conduct research and educational activities on the impact of these laws, and work on a state-by-state basis to change them.
James O. Prochaska, PhD is Director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center and Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. Prochaska is co-creator of the Transtheoretical Model of Change, a model that identifies stages of change and other factors that predict treatment outcomes and allows many more people to enter substance abuse treatment programs at earlier stages of readiness. The aim of his project is to produce a more innovative and promising approach to prevention of and early intervention in youth alcohol and tobacco abuse by conducting comparative studies of best practices, disseminating this information to health care professionals and the public, and using this data to design the next generation of effective multilevel and multicultural prevention programs.
James L. Repace, MSc is a health physicist currently in private practice as an international secondhand smoke consultant based in the metro Washington, DC area, and a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. Repace conducted groundbreaking research that first measured the dangers of secondhand smoke. He has devoted his career to adding to these scientific findings and defeating key tobacco industry strategies designed to counter smoking bans. Using state-of-the-art technology, Repace will conduct on-site physical measurements of the air quality in certain bars and restaurants in order to quantify the influence of secondhand smoke on workers and the public. This work will add to the scientific knowledge base and assist those advocating for clean indoor air.
Paul J. Samuels, JD is President and Director of the Legal Action Center in New York, New York. Since joining the Center as a staff attorney 23 years ago, Samuels has fought for the rights of people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. He and his agency have succeeded at having recovering individuals included in federal, state and local legislation that concerns housing, benefits, privacy and employment. As an Innovator, Samuels plans to continue working with recovery groups to build coalitions between people in recovery and their allies, including national organizations, service providers, researchers, and advocates in order to help develop a more unified voice and permanently change public policies towards addiction.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grant making in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost; to improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse -- tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs. Now in its third year, the Innovators Combating Substance Abuse program continues to be managed by the national program office at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Public Health.