Risk-related Behaviors and Substance Abuse

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Behavioral causes of disease such as smoking, obesity and alcohol and drug abuse account for a very large proportion of human disease and death. These behavioral causes of disease are especially prevalent in low socioeconomic communities, such as those in rural Appalachia. UK has several centers devoted to these problems, along with numerous well-funded basic, clinical, and community based translational scientists. By adding focus on risk-related behaviors to the CCTS, we are mobilizing our interdisciplinary faculty to generate new discoveries that will impact the community in a relatively short time frame.

The foundation of Risk-related Behaviors key function is a three-step translational approach to identify, select, and examine risk-related behaviors and foster innovative translational research within the context of Kentucky and the research environment at UK. Key to this process are two committees: Risk-related Behaviors Program Committee, composed of leading investigators in the field of risk-related behaviors and/or substance abuse; and the Risk-related Behaviors Community Advisory Group charged with informing the process from the community perspective. The goal of this key function is to target risk-related behaviors for project development based on scientific merit in conjunction with community needs.

The Risk-related Behaviors Program Committee, chaired by Dr. Carl Leukefeld, is charged with:

Special emphasis is accorded high-impact research including, for example, motivational interventions, treatment interventions, tobacco treatment approaches, exercise programs, and nutrition/wellness programs successfully used in rural settings.

The Risk-related Behaviors Community Advisory Group is charged with:

Risk-related Behaviors Program Committee Members:

Carl Leukefeld, DSW is Professor and Chair, Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine, and holds the Bell Endowed Alcohol and Addictions Chair. Dr. Leukefeld founded the UK Center for Drug and Alcohol Research and currently directs the NIDA-funded Central States Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment System Center.

Michael Bardo, PhD is Director, Center for Drug Abuse Research Translation, funded by NIDA to apply basic research findings on individual differences in personality and neurobiology to the design of more effective televised anti-drug public service announcements.
Lisa Cassis, PhD is Professor and Chair, Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, College of Medicine. Dr. Cassis is also Director of the Center of Research in Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease.

Linda Dwoskin, PhD is Endowed Professor in Pharmaceutical Education and Associate Dean for Research, College of Pharmacy. Dr. Dwoskin has over 23 years of experience in drug discovery and development focused on therapeutic interventions for substance abuse.
Mark Fillmore, PhD is Professor of Psychology and Director of Experimental Programs. His research areas include behavioral pharmacology, substance abuse, and behavioral neuroscience.

Ellen Hahn, DNS, RN is Professor of Nursing, and Director, Tobacco Policy Research Program, which includes the Clean Indoor Air Partnership and the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy, funded in 2004 by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Philip Kern, MD is Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine; Director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center; and Director of Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

Catherine Martin, MD is Professor of Psychiatry and Division Director of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Martin’s research interests include biological markers for high-risk behaviors in adolescents, substance abuse, ADHD, adolescent smoking, and smoking interventions.

Debra Moser, DNSc, MN, RN, FAAN is the Linda C. Gill Professor of Nursing; Director, Center for Biobehavioral Research in Self-Management of Cardiopulmonary Disease; and principal investigator on the HRSA-funded Heart Health in Rural Kentucky project.

Carrie Oser, PhD is Associate Professor of Sociology and Center on Drug and Alcohol Research faculty. Dr. Oser’s research interest include health services research, health disparities, rural populations, the diffusion of innovations, and HIV risk behaviors among individuals involved in the criminal justice system.

Craig Rush, PhD Professor of Behavioral Science, is currently the principal investigator on five NIDA R01 awards and co-investigator on numerous NIH-funded projects focused on therapeutic interventions for substance abuse.

Nancy Schoenberg, PhD is the Marion Pearsall Professor of Behavioral Science. Dr. Schoenberg, a medical anthropologist, maintains research interests in community-based participatory interventions, explanatory models of chronic diseases and their prevention and management, self-care decision-making and formal health care use.

Sharon Walsh, PhD is Professor of Behavioral Science and Psychiatry and Executive Director of the UK Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. Dr. Walsh’s research is focused on mechanisms of opioid abuse.

Matt Webster, PhD is Associate Professor of Behavioral Science and Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. His research focuses on substance abusers, their health and related risk behaviors (e.g., impaired driving), and the barriers they face to recovery.