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Deborah J. Ossip, Ph.D., to lead Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco in 2016

Monday, March 02, 2015

Deborah J. Ossip, Ph.D., professor of Public Health Sciences and Oncology, has been elected 2016 president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT). The international society coordinates and advances research related to nicotine and tobacco from molecular to societal levels, and it publishes the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Ossip will serve as president-elect from 2015-2016 to transition to her one-year term as president. Her term will be followed by one additional year as past-president to maintain seamless organizational leadership.  As president, Ossip is committed to expanding SRNT’s critical role as global leader, professional home, and scientific body to translate and disseminate the evidence base to inform and help to influence practice and policy.  

“Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States and the world,” Ossip said. “If the current trends in tobacco use continue, projections are that 1 billion premature deaths from tobacco use will occur globally in this century. SRNT’s role as the lead scientific organization for nicotine and tobacco use research is more critical than ever to inform evidence-based decisions to protect the public health.”

Ossip, who joined the University of Rochester in 1981, serves as the director of the Smoking Research Program in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Her research on nicotine and tobacco has spanned basic, clinical and policy domains, and her work has focused on translating science to practice and policy, health disparities, and global health. Globally, she is principal investigator for a National Cancer Institute-funded trial of community-partnered tobacco cessation and secondhand smoke reduction efforts in economically disadvantaged Dominican Republic communities.  She also co-directs with Scott McIntosh, Ph.D., the New York state-funded Health Systems Change for a Tobacco-Free Finger Lakes, which works with health systems and providers to promote tobacco control policies, including intervening with low-income tobacco users and those with mental health diagnoses, and referring tobacco users to their physicians and the New York State Smokers’ Quitline.  

“This is a time of unprecedented opportunities as well as challenges in tobacco control. On one hand, some countries envision an endgame for tobacco, and advances in technology, social media, and ‘Big Data’ analytic approaches open new prospects for impact,” Ossip said. “On the other hand, there are threats to public health accomplishments from the re-emergence of industry efforts to promote combustible tobacco use, the proliferation of non-cigarette forms of tobacco, delays in regulation of emerging products such as e-cigarettes and hookah, and increases in tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries.”

“Dr. Ossip has been at the forefront of work in tobacco control in the US and more recently in the Dominican Republic,” said Ann M. Dozier, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences. “Her work goes beyond theory to testing the efficacy and evaluating the effectiveness of various programs to reduce smoking among adolescents, young and older adults, and among those with fewer resources. This is a well-deserved recognition of her expertise and commitment. ”

Author of more than 80 peer-reviewed publications, Ossip has been a member of SRNT since 1994. She previously served as an SRNT board member, Member Delegate for North America and a member of the Global Health Network. Ossip is also a member of the American Society of Public Health, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the North American Quitlines Consortium.  She has served as chair and/or member of multiple federal and international task forces and working groups for tobacco control, and is Associate Editor for the Journal of Smoking Cessation.  She has received awards for her work from the American Academy of Pediatrics, SRNT, Preferred Care, NAQC, the National Cancer Institute, and New York State.  

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