Summer 2011 • Issue 23


NIAAA College Presidents Working Group

NIAAA held a successful kickoff meeting of the new NIAAA College Presidents Working Group on May 25, 2011. The Working Group aims to bring national attention to the college drinking issue and to make relevant recommendations to college administrators. It is cochaired by Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of Dartmouth College, and Dr. Robert Carothers, immediate past president of the University of Rhode Island. Drs. Kim and Carothers have been actively involved in efforts to reduce drinking on their respective college campuses and are working with other leaders in higher education to address the issue on other campuses. Dr. Carothers was a member of NIAAA’s original Task Force on College Drinking.

In 2002, the original Task Force turned a national spotlight on college drinking as an important public health issue. It established NIAAA as the lead Federal agency for research on harmful drinking among college students. The Task Force has published statistics that convey the magnitude of college drinking consequences, which have been cited more than 2,000 times in the scientific literature. Its reports, which were mailed to every college president in the United States, have been influential in the college alcohol and other drug (AOD) field. The NIAAA college Web site has received more than 150 million hits.

College drinking research remains a priority for NIAAA, and the new Presidents Working Group will continue to identify new advances in the field and share that information with colleges and universities in accessible and practical ways to facilitate its use as a foundation for prevention and intervention activities. Members of the Working Group will suggest strategies for communicating with college administrators and make recommendations for new NIAAA college-related materials and possible future research initiatives. They also will participate in media opportunities that may arise from this project.

The kickoff meeting reviewed the impact of the 2002 NIAAA College Task Force report, how college alcohol research has evolved during the past decade, and how this evolving body of knowledge can inform campus AOD efforts. Working Group members offered thoughtful and practical recommendations for activities that this group could undertake. Moving forward, NIAAA has dedicated resources to support this Working Group and develop new college materials and possible research projects based on the Working Group’s recommendations.

Members of the Working Group, who were invited because of their distinguished work in the area of college drinking prevention, include Drs. Thomas Buchanan, President, University of Wyoming, WY; Alice Gast, President, Lehigh University, PA; Jonathan Gibralter, President, Frostburg State University, MD; Roderick McDavis, President, Ohio University, OH; Mark Nordenberg, Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh, PA; Harris Pastides, President, University of South Carolina, SC; Judy Sakaki, Vice President for Student Affairs, University of California system, CA; David Skorton, President, Cornell University, NY; and Samuel Stanley, President, Stony Brook University, NY.

Members of the NIAAA College Presidents Working Group addressed underage and excessive student drinking at the group’s kickoff meeting in Washington, DC. The goal of the Working Group is to develop strategies for sharing college drinking research with university administrators in accessible and practical ways, and to promote the implementation of effective interventions.

Photo of members of the College Presidents Working Group

From left to right: Roderick J. McDavis, Ph.D., President, Ohio University; Jonathan Gibralter, Ph.D., President, Frostburg State University; Jim Yong Kim, M.D., Ph.D., President, Dartmouth College and Working Group Co-chair; Harris Pastides, Ph.D., President, University of South Carolina; Judy Sakaki, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs, University of California; Thomas Buchanan, Ph.D., President, University of Wyoming; Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., Acting Director, NIAAA; and Vivian Faden, Ph.D., Director, NIAAA Office of Science Policy and Communications. Not pictured: Robert Carothers, Ph.D., J.D., President Emeritus, The University of Rhode Island and Working Group Co-chair; Alice P. Gast, Ph.D., President, Lehigh University; Mark A. Nordenberg, Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh; David J. Skorton, M.D., President, Cornell University; and Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., President, Stony Brook University.