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Hingson Joins NIAAA as Division Director

Dr. Ralph W. Hingson, a researcher whose work has inspired legislative efforts against drinking and driving, has joined the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as director of its Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research.

He comes to NIAAA from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), where he had served since 2001 as associate dean for research. From 1986 to 2000, Hingson served as professor and chair of the BUSPH social and behavioral sciences department. Research by Hingson and colleagues in the early and mid-1990's helped stimulate passage of legislation, now enacted in all states, that makes it illegal for drivers under 21 to drive after any drinking.

Dr. Ralph W. Hingson

Hingson's more recent studies on the relationship between blood alcohol levels and automobile accidents has factored into proposals in many states to lower the legal blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 percent. Currently, 47 states have adopted the 0.08 percent limit. Hingson also has evaluated comprehensive community interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving and investigated how age of drinking onset affects alcohol-related outcomes such as motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fighting. He recently wrote a background chapter for the National Academy of Sciences Report to Congress on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking.

Hingson serves as a member of the committee on alcohol, drugs and traffic safety for the National Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the national advisory council of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). He has served as national vice president for public policy for MADD and spent 7 years on its national board of directors. Hingson helped develop MADD's Rating the States program, which grades national and state efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-impaired driving.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation honored him in 2001 with its Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Award. In 2002, he received the Widmark Award, the highest award bestowed by the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety, of which he is currently president-elect. In 2003, MADD instituted the Ralph W. Hingson Research in Practice Annual Presidential Award, with Hingson honored as its first recipient.

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