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NIAAA Newsletter
Spring/Summer 2003, Number 1

This document can be downloaded in its original graphic format. (PDF)

Table of Contents


Welcome to the inaugural edition of the NIAAA Newsletter, a new central source of information about NIAAA activities and events.

The newsletter will be published three times a year and will feature updates on new initiatives and programs, recently released publications, personnel changes, and other news from NIAAA. Please send your comments or suggestions for future issues to NIAAAnewsletter@nih.gov.

Gregory Roa, Editor
Diane Miller, Chief, Scientific Communications Branch

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A Roadmap for Research

NIAAA Fully Engaged in Trans-NIH Activity

A unique opportunity awaiting NIAAA’s new Director, Dr. T.K. Li, upon his arrival last November was an important joint venture under way at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Li and the other NIH directors are collectively developing a “roadmap” for greater collaboration to speed the progress of new and evolving areas of science.

“NIAAA is fully engaged in the roadmap process,” says Dr. Li. “In alcohol research, as in other fields of biomedical science, we are witnessing a growing trend toward more integrated research approaches,” he says. “If we are to accelerate the pace of discovery in alcohol research, especially in translating laboratory advances into clinical applications, we must foster greater synergy across various scientific disciplines and technologies.”

The roadmap exercises began last year when NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni convened several meetings to identify major cross-cutting biomedical challenges that NIH could address more efficiently. The thrust was to consider ways in which multi-institute cooperation could yield greater benefits in pharmacogenetics, bioinformatics, clinical networks, systems biology, and other promising directions in research. From those initial discussions, three broad areas emerged as principle trans-NIH initiatives: (1) new pathways to discovery, (2) research teams of the future, and (3) re-engineering the clinical research enterprise.

NIH held a second round of meetings with experts from within and outside NIH to assess roadblocks and opportunities for advancing biomedical science. NIAAA grantee Dr. Mark Goldman of the University of South Florida, recently named associate director at NIAAA, took part in discussions on translational research; NIH also invited Dr. Stephanie O’Malley, Yale University researcher and president of the Research Society on Alcoholism, to a meeting on clinical research.

In the initiative’s third phase, this past April NIH formed 15 working groups to spearhead implementation strategies. Dr. Zerhouni asked for teams of NIH directors to chair each committee. Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, director of the National Institute on Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and Dr. Li were appointed co-chairs of the working group on biological pathways and networks. Assisting Dr. Li from NIAAA are Dr. Kenneth Warren and Dr. Lorraine Gunzerath.

NIAAA’s extramural and intramural staff are also participating in 11 other roadmap working groups on regenerative medicine, building blocks for biology, bioinformatics and computational biology, molecular libraries, molecular imaging, nanotechnology, high-risk research, multidisciplinary research teams, translational research, integrated clinical research networks, and clinical research workforce training. The roadmap committees are developing proposals for the June 2003 NIH Directors’ Budget Retreat.

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Surgeon General and Governors’ Spouses Collaborate to Prevent Underage Drinking

Surgeon General and Governors· Spouses Collaborate to Prevent Underage Drinking
Pictured from left to right: SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie, First Lady Lori Hauser Holden of Missouri, First Lady Columba Bush of Florida, Past First Lady Theresa Racicot of Montana, Past First Lady Sharon Kitzhaber of Oregon, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, First Lady Mary Easley of North Carolina, NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni, First Lady Hope Taft of Ohio, NIAAA Deputy Director Dr. Mary Dufour, and NIAAA Director Dr. T.K. Li.

Preventing underage drinking is a national priority, one that U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, M.D., will include as part of his message concerning healthy choices for America’s children. Dr. Carmona discussed this priority at an April 28 meeting with NIAAA Director T.K. Li, M.D., and the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, a unique coalition of Governors’ spouses, Federal agencies, and public and private organizations. Leadership Initiative co-chairs Columba Bush (FL), Lori Hauser Holden (MO), Mary Easley (NC), and Hope Taft (OH), and emeritus members Sharon Kitzhaber (OR) and Theresa Racicot (MT) took part in the meeting, along with Charles Curie, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Howard Zucker, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health.

Dr. Carmona invited the Leadership Initiative to join his “50 Schools in 50 States” tour, a recently launched campaign to talk with students about the importance of making healthy choices. Other collaborations will include a joint public service announcement and the release of a Surgeon General’s Report on underage drinking. Dr. Carmona welcomed the establishment of an ongoing link between his office and the Leadership Initiative. Theresa Racicot, past First Lady of Montana and emeritus group co-chair, will assume that liaison role.

Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Elias Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health, also greeted the Governors’ spouses at the meeting. Secretary Thompson emphasized his support for the Leadership Initiative and the important contribution of the Governors’ spouses in working to prevent underage drinking.

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Fifth Annual Alcohol Screening Day

Fifth Annual Screening Day
NASD staff prepare a screening site at Fort Benning, Georgia (photo courtesy of Yvonne Wilbanks).

April 10, 2003, marked the fifth annual National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD). An estimated 3,200 sites across the country helped to raise Americans’ awareness of this year’s theme: Alcohol and your health: Where do you draw the line?

NASD, a program of NIAAA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Screening for Mental Health (SMH), Inc., and their partners, offers broad-scale, science-based education, screening, and brief intervention for alcohol problems. The program empowers participants to reassess and change their drinking patterns to safeguard their health, and to get further evaluation and treatment.

Many of NIAAA’s alcohol research centers hosted NASD events. The Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill participated in the program for the fifth year in a row. The Center operated a screening site on the main floor of the UNC Women’s Hospital, allowing easy visitor access. “We had our most successful event ever,” said Dr. Fulton T. Crews, Director of the Bowles Center.

In Washington, D.C., the Howard University Collaborative Alcohol Research Center (HUCARC) offered screening sites both on the college campus and in the University hospital. “The event was well received by students and patients,” said Dr. Robert E. Taylor, HUCARC Director.

At the Medical University of South Carolina’s Charleston Alcohol Research Center, screening organizers recruited research assistants from basic science labs to help in the clinic. The experience gave the scientists an opportunity to witness the clinical applications of their research.

In Oregon, the Portland Alcohol Research Center ran its third NASD program. Staff provided information about research at the Center and distributed NIAAA publications on a wide range of alcohol-related topics.

Screening Day sites reached out to more diverse audiences through a wide variety of venues. Colleges continued to be important partners in NASD events.

More military installations participated in NASD than ever before. At Fort Benning Army base in Georgia, alcohol and drug control officer Yvonne Wilbanks coordinated seven screening sites.

At the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, Linda Doty, R.N., L.C.S.W.-C., a research social worker with NIAAA’s intramural Laboratory of Clinical Studies, coordinated several sites for NIH employees and the general public. One site drew the attention of passers-by with a fake mini-bar to test their knowledge of a standard drink size using grape juice and iced tea.

Next year’s program is scheduled for April 8, 2004. For more information, contact Dr. Anton Bizzell in NIAAA’s Office of Collaborative Research (abizzell@willco.niaaa.nih.gov).

By Jennifer K. Loukissas

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New Publications

Helping Patients with Alcohol Problems cover Helping Patients with Alcohol Problems: A Health Practitioner’s Guide features a graphic presentation with updated information about the effectiveness of brief interventions. Accompanying the 22-page booklet is a pocket mini-guide with the screening and intervention algorithm and a standard drink chart.

The new booklet was developed with advice and feedback from clinical researchers, usability experts, and primary care practitioners from a variety of practice settings. Staff from five branches of NIAAA collaborated to shape the content and design.
A family history of alcoholism cover A Family History of Alcoholism— Are You at Risk? provides easy-to-read facts along with resources for more information for anyone who is concerned about a family history of alcoholism.
harmful interactions cover Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medicines addresses the risks of using alcohol while taking medications or herbal preparations and lists common medicines and their possible reactions with alcohol.
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These publications are available at no charge from NIAAA, online at http://www.niaaa.nih.gov, or by fax at 703–312–5230.


Personnel News

Appointments

Mark Goldman, Ph.D., was appointed Associate Director of NIAAA. Dr. Goldman will assist the Institute in better integrating behavioral and biomedical research. He will also help to develop an underage drinking prevention initiative similar to the NIAAA Task Force on College Drinking.

Andrew Holmes, Ph.D., has been appointed head of the Section on Behavioral Science and Genetics in the intramural Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience. Dr. Holmes previously served with the National Institute of Mental Health.

Steven S. Vogel, Ph.D., has been appointed head of the Section on Cellular Biophotonics in NIAAA’s intramural Laboratory of Molecular Physiology. Dr. Vogel was on the faculty of the Medical College of Georgia.

Nora Volkow, M.D., the newly appointed Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will maintain her research at New York’s Brookhaven National Laboratory under the aegis of NIAAA’s intramural program as head of the Laboratory of Neuroimaging. Her laboratory studies the dopamine system, focusing on mechanisms underlying the reinforcing, addictive, and toxic properties of drugs of abuse in the brain.

Retirements

In January 2003, Richard Fuller, M.D., retired from NIAAA, having served as Director of the Division of Clinical and Prevention Research since 1988.

In April 2003, Michael Eckardt, Ph.D., retired as chief of the Planning and Evaluation Branch for NIAAA’s Office of Scientific Affairs. Dr. Eckardt joined NIAAA as an intramural investigator in 1976.

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Calendar of Events

NIAAA will participate in or exhibit at the meetings and conferences listed here. For additional information or updates on these events, consult the sponsoring organizations.

JUNE

June 21–25
Research Society on Alcoholism, 26th Annual Scientific Meeting
Fort Lauderdale, FL

NIAAA-Sponsored Satellite Events:

June 21
Treating Your Clients’ Alcohol Problems: Lessons from the Latest Research

Fort Lauderdale Marina Marriott
Contact: Pamela Handon, 301/577–0244, ext. 25

June 21
High-Throughput Proteomics for Alcohol Research

Marriott’s Harbor Beach Hotel & Resort
Contact: Dr. Lisa Neuhold, 301/594–6228; lneuhold@willco.niaaa.nih.gov

AUGUST

August 7–10
American Psychological Association Annual Meeting
Toronto, Canada
Contact: 800/374-2721; www.apa.org/convention/

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 11
Mothers Against Drunk Driving Annual Conference
NIAAA Alcohol Research Symposium
New Orleans, LA
Contact: Geoffrey Laredo, 301/443–6371; gl61f@nih.gov

Sept. 11–14
European Society for Biochemical Research on Alcoholism, 9th Congress ADH Polymorphism Symposium
Prague, Czech Republic
Contact: www.esbra2003.vscht.cz/reg.html

Sept. 14–17
NAADAC (The Association for Addiction Professionals) Annual Conference and Policy Event
Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC
Contact: 800/548–0497; www.naadac.org

Sept. 18
Meeting of National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Open Session
Natcher Bldg., NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD
Contact: Ida Nestorio, 301/443–4376; inestori@willco.niaaa.nih.gov

Sept. 24
North Carolina College Presidents’ Summit on Alcohol Use and Abuse
Executive Mansion, Raleigh, NC
Contact: Amy Matush, 301/443–0469; amatush@mail.nih.gov

FUTURE EVENTS

Keller Lecture Scheduled for Nov. 18, 2003
Adolf Pfefferbaum, M.D., of SRI International, will deliver NIAAA’s annual Mark Keller Lecture,
Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD
Contact: Nancy Colladay, 301/443–3860; collada@willco.niaaa.nih.gov

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Published by the Scientific Communications Branch, Office of Scientific Affairs, NIAAA, NIH, DHHS

NIH Publication No. 03–5346

Web address: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov

E-mail: NIAAAnewsletter@nih.gov

Editor: Gregory Roa
NIAAA Scientific Communications Branch
Willco Building/Room 409
6000 Executive Blvd. MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD 20892–7003
Phone: 301–443–3860
Fax: 301–480–1726

Posted: July 18, 2003