Tradition of Excellence

ABMRF’s predecessor organization, the Medical Advisory Group (MAG), formed in 1969 under the administrative auspices of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
The MAG was created to provide independent medical advice concerning the health effects of alcoholic beverages to members of the United States Brewers Association (USBA) -- today's Beer Institute. Proceeding upon the advice of the Johns Hopkins Hospital president, USBA enlisted Dr. Thomas B. Turner, distinguished dean emeritus of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Turner drew upon well-known physicians from the Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and Johns Hopkins medical schools to create an esteemed group.


Pioneering medical investigations of alcohol consumption and associated health issues moved forward with the cooperation of colleagues in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In 1982, the MAG merged with a parallel group in Canada to form the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation (ABMRF).
Subsequently, the Foundation became wholly independent of Johns Hopkins and was structured to ensure ironclad scientific independence from financial contributors.
The Foundation attracts the nation's leading physicians, scientists, and academic investigators to serve on its Board of Trustees and Advisory Councils, with many members having earned prestigious honors in the field of alcohol research. Emphasizing the highest research standards and integrity continuously strengthens and enhances the fully independent -- "arms-length" -- relationship between grantees and contributors. Industry members hold minority seats on the Board of Trustees and do not participate in the grant selection process in any way.
In keeping with the highest scientific and academic traditions, all grant applications are peer-reviewed by the Advisory Councils according to standards set by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The most outstanding and innovative research opportunities are supported. 


The Foundation has underwritten grants at over 260 distinguished institutions in Canada and the U.S. with impressive results.  Foundation grantees are encouraged to publish the results of their investigations, without prior review or approval by the Foundation, further assuring quality and independence in science.


Since its founding in 1982, the Foundation has funded over 570 grantees in the field of alcohol research. Many grantees have developed noteworthy careers, and a remarkable number have gone on to become leaders in alcohol research. In fact, it has become a Foundation tradition that today’s junior scientists are tomorrow’s leaders in the field.

ABMRF Timeline
1982   On January 1, 1982, the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation  (ABMRF) is officially established with the first meeting of the Board of Trustees and Advisory Councils to follow later in June.  
1982   Dr. Alex Richman, chairman and professor of Psychiatry and Preventive Medicine at Dalhousie University, serves as the first chairman of the Behavioral and Social Advisory Council.   
1982   The Medical Advisory Council is headed by Dr. Brian MacMahon, professor and head of the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.   
1984   During 1984, 36 research projects are funded, exceeding $1M for the first time in one year ($1.5M), for grant proposals received from 60 institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada.  
1986   The Austern Lectureship, established in memory of Mr. H. Thomas Austern, legal architect of the Foundation, was inaugurated at the International Medical Advisory Conference (IMAG) in Ottawa.  
1986   The Johns Hopkins University hosts a one-day conference, “Impact of the Mass Media on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism."  
1989   Dr. Mack Mitchell succeeds Dr. Thomas Turner upon the retirement of the Foundation’s founding president and visionary leader.  
1989   Becoming fully independent – the only nonprofit organization in North America devoted solely to funding alcohol research, the Foundation moves its headquarters from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to Turner House.  
1992   The 10th Anniversary Scientific conference, “A Decade of Progress / Prospects for the Decade,” reviews the Foundation’s contributions to scientific knowledge, and looks forward to opportunities.  
1992   Dr. Arthur Klatsky is presented the first Thomas B. Turner Award for Research Excellence for his sustained contributions on the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on health. Dr. Klatsky’s work sheds light on protective effects that reduce risk for coronary heart disease mortality.  
1993   ABMRF’s history is documented by Thomas B. Turner, M.D. and Virginia L. Bennett in Forward Together – Industry and Academia, providing an historical account of the successful joint venture between the brewing industry and academic medicine.  
1995   The Annual Clyde Kelly Golf Tournament, held in memory of the former director of Bob Hall, Inc., a distributorship in southern Maryland, raises $120,000 in its 13 years.  
1996   Recognized by the Research Society on Alcoholism, Dr. Turner receives the RSA Lifetime Achievement Award and shares the award with Mrs. Virginia Bennett for her help in developing the Foundation.  
1996   ABMRF sponsors a symposium on “Health Effects of Moderate Drinking” during the annual RSA meeting; three of four speakers are ABMRF current or former grantees.  
1999   During a 1999 strategic planning session, the mission and vision statements are  revised to those in use today.  
2002   The 2002 Annual Report is dedicated to Thomas B. Turner, M.D. at his passing, in recognition of his support and encouragement of research worldwide in alcohol use and prevention of misuse.  
2003   ABMRF raises its grant award from $40,000 (U.S.) to $50,000 (U.S.) per year to ensure innovative work in the face of rising research costs.  
2007   Coinciding with its 25th anniversary, the Foundation honors its history while streamlining its name to become ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research.  
2007   Dr. Mack Mitchell is the recipient of the 20th Annual RSA Seixas Award for Service to the field of alcohol research.  

2007   In its 25th year, the Foundation hits the $40M mark in grant awards to 450 scientific investigators at over 200 U.S. and Canadian institutions.









2010  The Foundation votes to establish its overseas alcohol research grant program and approves funding of projects in Brazil and South Africa.


Dr. Dan Stein









2011  Dr. Dan Stein, a professor of psychiatry and mental health at the University of Cape Town, S.A., joins the Advisory Councils and the first research grants to South African investigators are awarded.

30th Year Anniversary

2012  With the momentous advances of genetics, brain imaging and other highly innovative research tools, we’re on the cusp of finding solutions for alcohol misuse that will give millions of people hope for the future.













2012  Underage Drinking: A Report on Underage Drinking in the Second Decade of Life in Europe and North America is jointly published with ERAB, ABMRF's sister foundation in Europe.


Funding amount









2013 ABMRF raises its grant award from $50,000 (U.S.) to a maximum of $75,000 (U.S.) to address gaps in restricted funding opportunities for junior investigators in alcohol research.