NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

May To Give NIAAA’s Keller Lecture, Nov. 29

Dr. Philip May
Dr. Philip May

Dr. Philip A. May will deliver the 2018 Mark Keller Honorary Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 1:30 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. The title of his talk is “Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Characteristics and Correlates.”

May is an internationally recognized expert in fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), with a distinguished research career spanning nearly 50 years. By studying the adverse effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol, his work has advanced our understanding of the prevalence, characteristics, etiology, diagnosis and prevention of FAS and FASD.

May is currently professor in the department of nutrition of the Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Nutrition Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and adjunct professor of pediatrics at the Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota.

In addition to holding these academic positions, May is an extraordinary professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He also served for 9 years as the first director of the Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions at UNM.

During his distinguished career, May has been the principal investigator of more than a dozen major population-based FAS/FASD epidemiologic studies of children. In addition to being applied to several Native American communities in the U.S. Southwestern and Northern Plains and other communities in the United States, South Africa and Italy, the active case ascertainment methodology he developed has been applied to research with communities in Canada and Poland. It is also being used in several ongoing studies in Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa through a collaboration between NIAAA and the World Health Organization.

May’s work has been crucial in understanding the factors that contribute to risk for FASD and related outcomes. Additionally, he has helped identify and evaluate educational, cognitive and nutritional interventions to mitigate the developmental consequences of FASD in affected children and to aid in managing their daily lives.

May is co-leader of the Collaboration on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Prevalence (CoFASP) research consortium, which studies the prevalence of FASD among school-age children in the United States. Earlier this year, CoFASP published the results of a pivotal study that used school-based assessments, a common methodology and classification system, and expert in-person evaluations for the full range of FASD among many children from communities across the United States. The study provides findings that more accurately reflect the true prevalence of FASD within the country and underscores the need for more focus on screening, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of FASD.

NIAAA established the Mark Keller Honorary Lecture Series as a tribute to Keller’s pioneering contributions to the field of alcohol research. Honorees have made significant contributions to our understanding of how alcohol affects the body and mind, how we can prevent, diagnose and treat alcohol misuse and alcohol use disorder and how today’s scientific advances can provide hope for tomorrow.

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