The Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH) was established in 2013, sponsored in part by a Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Award from the National Institute on General Medical Sciences and a Centers of Tobacco Regulatory Science (TCORS) Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The VCBH resides within the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, with the director and administrative offices being located within the Department of Psychiatry, and participating investigators, collaborators, and advisors across 15 academic departments in the College of Medicine and 7 colleges within the University of Vermont and 5 other universities. The VCBH is further strengthened by interdisciplinary collaborations with key community healthcare leaders and distinguished scientific advisory panels.
The focus of the VCBH is on investigating relationships between personal behaviors and risk for chronic disease and premature death, with a specific focus on understanding mechanisms underpinning risk, and developing effective interventions and policies to promote healthy behavior. A common thread across VCBH research projects is the application of knowledge from the disciplines of behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology to (a) increase understanding of vulnerability to unhealthy behavior and (b) the use of incentives and other behavioral and pharmacological interventions to support healthy behavior change interventions and policies. The contribution of socioeconomic factors to vulnerability and the need for interventions and policies to promote health and reduce disparities in disadvantaged populations is an overarching VCBH focus. To our knowledge, the VCBH is the only NIH-funded center that is applying the disciplines of behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology to tackling these enormous, interrelated U.S. public health challenges.
VBHC research includes randomized clinical trials and outpatient laboratory studies on topics related to drug abuse and other health behaviors, behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology. Our research program is supported by P20, R01, R03 and R34 grants from the National Institutes of Health and also includes industry-sponsored projects.
The VCBH offers a well-established, multi-faceted training program, supported by a T32 training grant, the COBRE grant and research grants from the National Institutes on Health. Continuously funded since 1990 by an Institutional Training Grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the VCBH is home to an excellent predoctoral and postdoctoral training program in substance abuse research.
VCBH Director Stephen Higgins, Ph.D., and colleagues, have developed an effective behavioral economic approach that offers pregnant women who smoke financial incentives to stop. The groups’ most recent findings were published online in Preventive Medicine and were also featured in an article published by the Huffington Post.
Last modified December 14 2014 07:46 PM