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Marisa M. Silveri, PhD, director of the Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health and associate professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has been elected chair of the National Advocacy and Public Education (NAPE) committee for the Research Society on Alcoholism.
The mission of the NAPE is to inform health professionals, members of the public, state and federal legislators/officials, and fellow scientists about the impact of alcohol research, thereby bolstering support for funding research. Types of actions that the NAPE committee undertakes include lectures and other educational activities targeting constituent groups; meeting with legislators and members of charitable organizations to stress the importance of research that addresses individual and societal problems related to alcohol consumption; and honoring journalists and writers who effectively communicate the impact of alcohol abuse and the need to research its causes, prevention, and treatment. Silveri says that outreach has helped to discourage alcohol and drug use, particularly during adolescence, by increasing public awareness about evidence-based neuroscience research identifying early clinical and behavioral indicators of substance use and abuse, which have important relevance for the vulnerable developing brain.
“Being chosen to serve as chair of this important national committee is a true privilege,” says Silveri. “Community outreach has been one of the most important elements of my career thus far, which is inextricably linked to the science being conducted in our lab.”
Silveri’s lab is currently using multiple neuroimaging and neuropsychological approaches to identify neurodevelopmental vulnerabilities associated with early and escalating alcohol use in adolescents and predictors of binge drinking in emerging adults.