Announcement of new center and training opportunities
The Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH), established in 2013, has received nearly $35 million in recent federal funding for behavior and health-related research, including a Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) P20 Award from the National Institute on General Medical Sciences and a Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) P50 Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Stephen T. Higgins, PhD, is the director of the VCBH, an interdisciplinary center of research excellence committed to investigating relationships between personal behavior patterns (i.e., lifestyle) and risk for chronic disease and premature death. Unhealthy behaviors (e.g., tobacco and other substance abuse, physical inactivity, obesity, risky sexual behavior) represent the leading cause of chronic disease and premature deaths in the U.S. and are a major driver behind spiraling health-care costs. Importantly, these risk behaviors are overrepresented among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and are major contributors to the problem of health disparities. There is a tremendous need for greater scientific understanding of the mechanisms underpinning vulnerability to these risk behaviors and for more effective interventions and policies to promote healthy behavior. The VCBH will leverage knowledge from the disciplines of behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology to better understand and support healthy behavior change. To our knowledge, the VCBH is the only NIH-funded center that is applying these disciplines to these enormous, interrelated U.S. public health challenges.
Underscoring its interdisciplinary nature, the VCBH resides within the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont with participating investigators, collaborators and advisors across 15 academic departments in the College of Medicine and seven colleges within the University of Vermont and five other universities. The VCBH is further strengthened by collaborations with key community healthcare leaders and distinguished scientific advisory panels. The VCBH also offers a well-established, multi-faceted predoctoral and postdoctoral training program in tobacco and other substance abuse research. Trainees are typically experimental and clinical students or psychologists who receive individual mentoring by productive, NIH-supported independent scientists, seminars and courses in substance abuse and related fields of behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology, along with training in grant writing and related aspects of career development.
For more information about the training program and instructions for applying, please refer to the VCBH website or contact Diana Cain.
Editor's note: a specific annoucement for postdoctoral positions is on Page 16 of this newsletter.