Annual Report 2011
Alcohol research has come a long way. In our early days, sparse knowledge circulated regarding alcohol consumption. The body of research largely focused on medical complications of heavy consumption, such as cirrhosis. There was little behavioral or social research in the field. Few investigators studied the largest segment of drinkers – those who drink moderately. ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research can attest to the progress in the field over the course of several decades since its formation in 1982, and is privileged to have been a catalyst in the resulting body of scientific knowledge. Established to address the effects of alcohol on the health and behavior of individuals and to provide the scientific basis for prevention and treatment of alcohol misuse and alcoholism, ABMRF has provided financial grant support to over 550 independent investigators; the body of work generated by our grantees is remarkable.
Mostly, the Foundation has supported scientists who were at a very early stage in the development of their careers. Young investigators have been encouraged to look broadly at the effects of alcohol and to be innovative in their approaches to alcohol-related matters. Scores of qualified proposals from bright and energetic young scientists have been received over these years – many more, in fact, than our limited annual allocation can supply. We have fostered the highest quality of scientific research and our grantees have helped build an impressive body of knowledge on alcohol and health.
Each year we watch with pride as our grantees publish study findings in highly regarded scientific journals, speak at key conferences and symposiums, receive prestigious awards for their work, and take on leadership positions in the field of alcohol research, further guiding the direction of research and supporting informed policy and regulation.
As we review 2011, the threshold of our 30th anniversary, we note that the ever-increasing body of work supported by ABMRF exceeds 2,200 publications, most of which were published in highly reputable medical and social behavioral journals. Our young investigators are building on advances from the past three decades. Each new work surpasses previous boundaries, forging incremental discoveries for better health. The understanding of how consumption of alcoholic beverages affects health and behavior is growing, but is far from complete; and new technologies in genetics and brain imaging, for example, now provide opportunities for key breakthroughs.
In this issue, we have illustrated the broad spectrum of ABMRF research and the variety of approaches studied within specific topic areas. You will learn about exciting opportunities begun in 2011 that will expand our body of work in unique directions: We have engaged in a U.S.-European partnership to understand trends in underage drinking here and abroad, and thanks to the support of global brewer SABMiller, we have successfully launched our South African grant program prototype to help build research infrastructure for global collaboration in alcohol studies.
It is an exciting time – a critical time for alcohol research and for the Foundation – and there is an abundance of talent to support. It’s time to salute those who established this essential groundwork; and with your help, dramatically expand this vitally important body of work, and therefore its impact on healthy lives.
Bruce M. Ambler, M.B.A.
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Mack C. Mitchell, Jr., M.D.
Message From Our President
Mack C. Mitchell, Jr., M.D., ABMRF President
Vice Chairman of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX