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Research Briefs

For immediate use

Aug. 9, 2007

Tobacco-Free Colleges Initiative has successful first year, UNC evaluation finds

A new program aimed at reducing tobacco use among North Carolina college students was successful in its first year of operation, according to an evaluation by UNC-Chapel Hill researchers.

The Tobacco-Free Colleges Initiative was established by the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund. It began operating in January 2006 and has since awarded grants to 20 organizations working on close to 60 college campuses across the state.

Grantees work to establish tobacco use prevention coalitions, advance tobacco-free policies and promote the use of the Quitline NC telephone cessation service by young adults between 18 and 24 years old on North Carolina college campuses.

“The Health and Wellness Trust Fund’s Tobacco-Free College Initiative had a very strong first year, with policy gains, new coalitions and strong statewide support in such a short amount of time,” said Adam Goldstein, professor of family medicine and director of UNC’s Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program (TPEP), based in the School of Medicine’s department of family medicine

The evaluation found that grantees worked on 58 different campuses in 44 counties across the state. The number of new policies, campus coalitions, college officials offering formal support and Quitline NC promotions to young adults all increased substantially since the start of the initiative.

One highlight of the first year’s accomplishments include the adoption of 16 tobacco-related policies, including three 100 percent tobacco-free campus policies at Barber Scotia University, Gardner-Webb University and College of the Albemarle. Prior to this initiative, only one college in North Carolina (Bennett College) had a 100 percent tobacco-free campus policy.

Other highlights include the adoption of five tobacco-free policies by campus organizations, the adoption of four designated area/perimeter policies, the adoption of two 100 percent tobacco-free policies by health care systems affecting three campuses, one policy prohibiting tobacco sales on campus and one tobacco-free policy adopted by an off-campus restaurant frequented by young adults. 
 
TPEP Web site:  http://www.fammed.unc.edu/TPEP/

NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund contact: Vandana Shah, executive director, (919) 855-6878 or vandana.shah@ncmail.net
School of Medicine contact: Stephanie Crayton, (919) 966-2860 or scrayton@unch.unc.edu

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UNC establishes center for bipolar disorder research, treatment

The UNC School of Medicine has established a new center aimed at studying the causes of bipolar disorder and developing new treatments for the condition.

The center will conduct clinical research studies examining the neurobiology of bipolar disorder in adults and children and the mechanisms of action of drug treatments. New studies will also examine the genetic underpinnings of brain function and brain abnormalities and the effectiveness of new drugs to treat bipolar mood disorders. Three clinical trials currently under way have received National Institutes of Health funding totaling $6 million.

The new center, named the UNC Center of Excellence for Research and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder, is housed in the School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry and headed by Jair C. Soares, M.D. Soares, a native of Brazil, joined the faculty this year after completing his psychiatric training at the University of Pittsburgh and Yale University Schools of Medicine. Soares also worked at the Pittsburgh’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, as well as the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio.

Soares was previously chief of the division of mood and anxiety disorders, and later vice chair for research in the department of psychiatry at Texas, where he also held the Krus Endowed Chair in psychiatry. At UNC, he is the Yeargan distinguished professor of psychiatry.

“We are very fortunate to have someone of Dr. Soares’ stature and ability to develop and lead our center,” said David Rubinow, M.D., Meymandi distinguished professor and chair of psychiatry in the UNC School of Medicine. “Bipolar disorder is a devastating illness for patients and families, and it is our obligation to provide these patients with the very best care and with the hope for the development of new and better treatments. Our new center will accomplish both of these goals.”

School of Medicine contact: Stephanie Crayton, (919) 966-2860 or scrayton@unch.unc.edu