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.

Public Health Relevance

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.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1)
Program Officer
Douthard, Regine
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Vermont & St Agric College
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Rohsenow, Damaris J; Tidey, Jennifer W; Kahler, Christopher W et al. (2015) Intolerance for withdrawal discomfort and motivation predict voucher-based smoking treatment outcomes for smokers with substance use disorders. Addict Behav 43:18-24
Harvey, Jean R; Ogden, Doris E (2014) Obesity treatment in disadvantaged population groups: where do we stand and what can we do? Prev Med 68:71-5
Higgins, Stephen T; Washio, Yukiko; Lopez, Alexa A et al. (2014) Examining two different schedules of financial incentives for smoking cessation among pregnant women. Prev Med 68:51-7
Rengo, Jason L; Savage, Patrick D; Toth, Michael J et al. (2014) Statin therapy does not attenuate exercise training response in cardiac rehabilitation. J Am Coll Cardiol 63:2050-1
Bradstreet, Matthew P; Higgins, Stephen T; McClernon, F Joseph et al. (2014) Examining the effects of initial smoking abstinence on response to smoking-related stimuli and response inhibition in a human laboratory model. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 231:2145-58
Ades, Philip A (2014) A controversial step forward: A commentary on the 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the treatment of blood cholesterol to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk in adults. Coron Artery Dis 25:360-3
Patrick, Mollie E; Dunn, Kelly E; Badger, Gary J et al. (2014) Spontaneous reductions in smoking during double-blind buprenorphine detoxification. Addict Behav 39:1353-6
Hand, Dennis J; Heil, Sarah H; Sigmon, Stacey C et al. (2014) Improving medicaid health incentives programs: lessons from substance abuse treatment research. Prev Med 63:87-9
White, Thomas J; Redner, Ryan; Skelly, Joan M et al. (2014) Examining educational attainment, prepregnancy smoking rate, and delay discounting as predictors of spontaneous quitting among pregnant smokers. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 22:384-91
Peel, Amanda B; Thomas, Samantha M; Dittus, Kim et al. (2014) Cardiorespiratory fitness in breast cancer patients: a call for normative values. J Am Heart Assoc 3:e000432

Showing the most recent 10 out of 15 publications