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August 2, 2001

Contact: Hooshna Amaria (hooshnaa@mbooth.com)
Dennis Tartaglia (dennist@mbooth.com)
M Booth & Associates
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For Immediate Release

Anti-tobacco and Alcohol Abuse Experts Top List as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Innovators

Princeton, N.J., August 2, 2001 – For their extraordinary efforts to curb substance abuse in America, five individuals have been recognized by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the Innovators Combating Substance Abuse program.

Innovators Combating Substance Abuse is a $7 million national program designed to recognize and reward individuals who have made substantial and innovative contributions in the fields of substance abuse prevention and treatment..

“These individuals represent the best and the brightest in the field of substance abuse prevention and treatment today” said Dr. John Slade, Professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Director of the program.   “They are internationally recognized leaders in their respective fields and have literally changed the landscape when it comes to reducing substance abuse.” 

Five awards will be made annually, each award includes a grant of $300,000 that recognizes the innovator’s contributions to their field and allows the recipient to continue to seek creative solutions to the nation’s substance abuse problems.   Awardees will conduct projects over a period of up to three years.

Innovators Combating Substance Abuse is developed and funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and managed by the national program office located at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) – School of Public Health, in New Brunswick, N.J. The program is designed to combat the nation’s number one health problem – substance abuse.  Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs cause more than half a million preventable deaths each year in the United States.

“These Innovators are at the forefront in helping control substance abuse,” said Nancy Kaufman, Vice President at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  “Their achievements have led not only to behavioral changes, but to greater community awareness.”

The following are recipients of the 2001 Innovators Award:

Julia Carol is the Executive Director of Americans for Nonsmokers Rights (ANR). Located in Berkley, California, ANR is one of the leading tobacco-control grassroots activist organizations in the country. Among ANR’s recent achievements was the successful lawsuit against the Governor of California for diverting tobacco-control funds. The suit was filed by ANR, which is also responsible for hundreds of smoke-free policies across the nation and for smoke-free airplanes.

Ms. Carol’s project will include expanding the ANR’s foundation’s data-base to include more information on the tobacco industry, as well as upgrading it with library science technology.

Gary Giovino, Ph.D is widely regarded as one of the world's leading researchers when it comes to the cause and effects of tobacco.  His findings have led to the understanding of adolescent dependence, menthol cigarette targeting of African Americans, smoking rates among African American teenagers and trends in tobacco use. Dr. Giovino is a Senior Research Scientist and Director, Tobacco Control Research Program at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

His project will study and refine the definition of the "hard core" smoker, identifying population estimates of prevalence.  He will also develop and refine measures to assess knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding tobacco harm reduction. 

Ralph Hingson, Sc.D. is Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department and Associate Dean for Research at Boston University’s School of Public Health. For over 20 years he has worked as a researcher and public policy advocate to reduce alcohol misuse and the resulting toll on unintentional injury and fatalities. His landmark work contributed to making it illegal for persons under 21 to drive after drinking, lowering the allowable blood alcohol limit for adult drivers to .08 percent and setting even lower limits for drivers convicted of operating under the influence. These policies have led to hundreds of lives saved each year. 

Dr. Hingson’s project builds on his ability to apply rigorous research as an essential tool in social change. He will link community youth workers with primary care and alcohol treatment resources.

G. Alan Marlatt, Ph.D., a psychology professor and Director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, introduced the “balanced placebo design” into alcohol research. He coined the term “relapse prevention” revolutionizing how treatment is delivered throughout the world.  He is applying harm reduction theory to reducing college students binge drinking episodes.

Dr. Marlatt will use his award to expand prevention and treatment work among Native American adolescents and to evaluate the use of meditation among prison inmates with substance abuse problems.

Alexander C. Wagenaar, Ph.D. Few scientists conduct studies that directly help save a thousand lives a year every year, but Dr. Wagenaar's research has had such an effect.  Starting in the late 1970s, he studied the effects of increasing the legal drinking age to 21 on a state-by-state basis, using such "above reproach" research methods that even the alcohol beverage industry had little recourse but to acknowledge his findings.  The result was a uniform nationwide age-21 policy that clearly saves lives. Dr. Wagenaar is a Professor of Epidemiology and the Alcohol Epidemiology Program Director at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Dr. Wagenaar will convene a panel of experts to investigate the role of law and policy in reducing alcohol-related problems.  The effort will specifically focus on similarities and differences between prevention efforts across high-risk products such as alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.

The Innovators Combating Substance Abuse  program is supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the national program office at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) – School of Public Health.  The mission of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is to improve the health and health care of all Americans.  One of its three major grantmaking goals is to promote health and reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse – tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs. 

Copyright 2004 The Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore, Maryland.
All rights reserved. Last Updated January 15, 2010
 

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