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M. D. Anderson Researcher Becomes President-Elect of Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

M. D. Anderson News Release 07/13/05

An internationally prominent tobacco researcher and behavioral scientist at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has been chosen president-elect for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, a global organization of experts from more than 20 nations. The Society meets annually in North America, and also co-sponsors meetings around the world.

Ellen R. Gritz, Ph.D., professor and chair of M. D. Anderson’s Department of Behavioral Science, will serve as President during the 2006-2007 term. Gritz holds the Frank T. McGraw Memorial Chair in the Study of Cancer.

Founded in 1994, the society’s mission is to stimulate the generation of new knowledge of nicotine in all its manifestations, from the molecular to the societal levels. Gritz will continue the society’s work of encouraging scientific research on public health efforts to prevent and treat cigarette and tobacco use, as well as providing a means for governmental and other public agencies to obtain expert advice and consultation on nicotine and tobacco.

Gritz is known internationally for her smoking-related research, having published extensively on cigarette smoking behavior, including prevention, cessation, pharmacologic mechanisms, effects on weight and issues of concern to women, minorities and medical patients. Other areas of her work include skin cancer prevention, psychosocial aspects of genetic testing and counseling for hereditary cancers, and quality of life in cancer patients, survivors, and family members. Her research builds on three decades of experience in risk-related behaviors and psychosocial adjustment to cancer and its sequelae. 

Gritz was a contributing editor to the 2001 Report of the Surgeon General on Women and Smoking, served as author and editor of the Annual Report of the Surgeon General on Smoking and Health and was a consultant to the Office on Smoking and Health from 1980-2001. She wrote the section on behavioral aspects of smoking and smoking cessation in the 1980 Report of the Surgeon General—The Health Consequences of Smoking for Women, the first Surgeon General’s Report on women’s smoking.

She has served on numerous advisory and policy boards for the National Cancer Institute and other organizations, including several comprehensive cancer centers.

From 1997-1999, Gritz served on the National Cancer Policy Board of the Institute of Medicine and Commission on Life Sciences, and has been a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice since 1995. In 2002, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the American Legacy Foundation, the non-profit public health foundation established in 1998 as part of the Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry and 46 states.

Before joining M. D. Anderson in 1993, she was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1986-1993, she also served as director of the Division of Cancer Control in the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Gritz earned her doctorate in psychology from the University of California, San Diego.

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