Unhealthy behavioral choices to smoke, overeat and lead sedentary lifestyles underlie the preponderance of chronic disease in the U.S. Greater understanding of the mechanisms underpinning vulnerability to such unhealthy decision making and developing more effective interventions to change behavior is vitally important to improving the U.S. public health. The overarching goal of the Administrative Core of the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH) is to organize and grow existing strengths at the University of Vermont (UVM) while engaging in local and national collaborations in this important area of health research. This core will provide the administrative and intellectual infrastructure necessary to (a) strengthen and further collaboration among an interdisciplinary group of UVM faculty who share research and clinical expertise in this area, (b) mentor junior faculty in conducting thematically related research and preparing competitive research grant applications, (c) establish productive collaborations with community healthcare organizations and other universities located in IDeA states, (d) recruit new members into the center, and (e) secure the necessary financial support to sustain the VCBH tDeyond COBRE support. Stephen T. Higgins, PhD, will direct the core with assistance from Philip A. Ades, MD. UVM senior faculty will participate as primary and secondary mentors for junior faculty who will conduct COBRE-supported and thematically related research projects. We will collaborate with Vermont community healthcare leaders and investigators from Brown University and the University of Kentucky in pursuing the VCBH mission. Program oversight will be guided by an External Advisory Committee of distinguished scientific leaders in the area of behavior and health. An Internal Advisory Committee composed of accomplished senior UVM investigators will advise the VCBH on scientific and organizational matters. A Community Advisory Committee of experts in Vermont health care delivery and policy will help assure that the VCBH is responsive to community needs. This interdisciplinary team will work closely together to make the VCBH a nationally and internationally recognized center of research excellence.
Many inidividuals persist in personal behaviors (substance abuse, physical inactivity/obesity) that significantly increase risk for chronic disease and premature death. This relationship between personal behaviors and disease risk is firmly established, but much remains to be learned about why certain individuals are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and how to promote behavior change.
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