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Dartmouth News
>  News Releases >   2002 >   January

Addiction center established

Posted 01/21/02, by Susan Knapp

Mark McGovern, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and Gail Nelson, Psychiatry Research Associate

The Provost's Office recently awarded a team from Dartmouth Medical School and the College a two-year grant to create a new addiction center at Dartmouth. The center, under its working title, Center for Addictions and Recovery, will spend the start-up time developing a mission statement, coordinating existing resources and expertise, and creating educational and outreach programs that meet their soon-to-be-developed goals.

The Center has secured office space on the fourth floor at 40 N. College St. (Church of Christ at Dartmouth College). Mark McGovern, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and Gail Nelson, Psychiatry Research Associate, are currently staffing the Center.

The Center's advisory committee, comprised of faculty and staff from across the College and the Medical School, is under the leadership of Joseph O'Donnell, Professor, Senior Advising Dean and Director of Community Programs at Dartmouth Medical School, and C. Everett Koop, former U.S. Surgeon General, and currently the Elizabeth DeCamp McInerny Professor of Surgery and Senior Scholar at the Koop Institute.

"We want to develop a model education program that will change behaviors around the inappropriate and harmful use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco. We want our programs to reach the campus community, and also beyond to the Upper Valley and perhaps nationally and internationally," said O'Donnell.

According to a February 2001 report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's No. 1 health problem is substance abuse. The new Center hopes to become a national resource for addressing this issue by creating curriculum materials for medical students, fostering and disseminating student-initiated ideas that promote healthy habits and lifestyles, housing research studies and producing leaders in the medical field, in policy arenas and on legal issues. The campus group will establish an external advisory committee involving Dartmouth alumni who have leadership strength in this area, and the whole team will work to secure future funding.

"I see this as an exciting opportunity for the College, and I'm happy to lend my support."

- Barry Scherr, Provost

"My sense is this center could ultimately serve as a model for similar centers throughout the country. I see this as an exciting opportunity for the College, and I'm happy to lend my support," said Barry Scherr, Provost.

The College's Alcohol, Addiction and Health course, offered in some form every year for the past 11 years, provided the inspiration to pursue a center dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse. Each year, this course draws from the talent and energy of many from across campus. This valuable experience in successful interdisciplinary collaboration proved to the group that an institutional center dedicated to addiction education, outreach and recovery could be realized. Additional support for the project comes from Dartmouth alumni and experts in the field from across the country.

- Susan Knapp

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