This is a revised application for support to establish a Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Behavior and Health at the University of Vermont (UVM). The proposed center will investigate relationships between personal behaviors and risk for chronic disease and premature death. Unhealthy personal behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, physical inactivity) account for 40% of premature deaths in the U.S. annually and substantially increase healthcare costs and health disparities. There is a tremendous need for (a) greater scientific understanding of the mechanisms underpinning vulnerability to these risk behaviors and (b) more effective interventions to promote behavior change. We will approach these challenges from a behavioral economics conceptual framework. This effort will involve key interdisciplinary collaborations (a) across multiple departments and colleges within UVM, (b) with key Vermont community healthcare leaders, and (c) with other universities, including two from IDeA states (Brown University and University of Kentucky).
Specific Aims of this proposal are:
Aim 1 : Establish the cores necessary to develop and sustain a vibrant interdisciplinary center of research excellence. Goals of this aim include developing (a) an Administrative Core that provides leadership, organizational structure, intellectual infrastructure, a mentoring plan, fiscal management, and strategic planning for fiscal support beyond COBRE funding;(b) a Behavioral Economics and Intervention Sciences Core that supports intervention development and evaluation, econometric modeling of cost effectiveness, and the study of health-related decision making and its neurobiological underpinnings, and (c) a Collaboration, Dissemination, and Education Core to facilitate those key missions.
Aim 2 : Support the selection and career development of excellent junior faculty Project Directors (PDs) who will become the nucleus of the center. The PDs and their research topics are: (1) Robert Althoff, MD, PhD, Shared Mechanisms in Child Dysregulation, Adult Psychopathology, and Metabolic Disorders;(2) Diann Gaalema, PhD, Incentives to Improve Cardiac Rehabilitation Participation in Low-income Patients;(3) Julie Phillips, MD, Incentives Targeting Gestational Weight Gain in Overweight/Obese Low-income Women;(4) Kim Dittus, MD, PhD, Predictors of Weight Loss Success in Overweight Breast Cancer Survivors;(5) Brian Sprague, PhD, Behaviors, Chronic Disease, and Quality of Life After Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. The proposed center will bring together an interdisciplinary group of accomplished senior scientists, promising junior investigators, and distinguished advisors and collaborators to work closely together to establish a center of excellence in an area of clinical research that is vitall important to the U.S. public health.
Many individuals persist in personal behavior patterns (e.g., substance abuse, physical inactivity) that increase risk for chronic disease and premature death. We are requesting support to develop the Vermont Center for Behavior and Health (VCBH) to investigate behavioral and biological risk factors for unhealthy behavior and new behavior-change treatments.
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