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Plenary Speaker Lectures
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2018 SRNT Plenary Lectures Sessions

Mark your calendar to not miss the 2018 SRNT guest speakers this year…


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Opening Session

Presidential Symposium: Reducing Nicotine Content in Cigarettes: A Discussion of the Evidence and Policy Implications


Time: 5:30 p.m.-6:45 p.m.

Location: Key Ballroom 1-6 (Main Building, 2nd Floor)

Session Chair: Dorothy K. Hatsukami, PhD


Presenters: Eric Donny, PhD; Dorothy Hatsukami, PhD; Stephen Higgins, PhD; & Saul Shiffman, PhD


Panelists: Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD; Kurt Ribisl, PhD; Natalie Walker, PhD; & Mitch Zeller, JD


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced the agency’s intent to consider reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes as a regulatory action to reduce cigarette smoking.

The proposal is intended to facilitate abstinence among smokers who are interested in quitting and could prevent the progression to dependence among those experimenting with cigarettes. To date, the research shows that the level of nicotine that consistently results in reduced smoking and cigarette dependence and increased quit attempts is < 0.4 mg/g of tobacco. This dose is also associated with minimal compensatory smoking and other unintended consequences. This session will include scientific presentations of relevant evidence to date and a panel discussion about the implications of the evidence in the context of the proposed reduced nicotine policy and larger tobacco control climate. Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami will moderate the panel discussion and provide a brief introduction to the session. Dr. Stephen Higgins will describe the most recent epidemiological and human laboratory studies on the impact of reduced nicotine content cigarettes in vulnerable populations including smokers with affective disorders, opioid dependence and socially disadvantaged women. Dr. Saul Shiffman will describe the impact of RNC cigarettes among intermittent smokers. Dr. Hatsukami will present results from a recent study on the best approach to reducing nicotine in cigarettes: immediate vs. gradual reduction. Dr. Eric Donny will discuss the results from a recent study that examined the effects of nicotine replacement therapy among those assigned to very low vs. normal nicotine content cigarettes. Four panelists will offer their perspectives: Dr. Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin will discuss important research gaps and relevant contextual issues to date. Dr. Kurt Ribisl will discuss the tax and trade issues for consideration in the context of such a policy. Dr. Mitch Zeller will provide a tobacco regulatory and policy perspective. Similar reduced nicotine policies and related research is being conducted outside the US. Lessons learned outside of the US will be presented by Dr. Natalie Walker.



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Pre-Clinical Themed Plenary & Recipient of the 2018 Langley Award: Bringing Precision Medicine to Smoking Cessation

Time: 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Location: Key Ballroom 1-6 (Main Building, 2nd Floor)

Session Chair: Dorothy K. Hatsukami, PhD


Plenary Speaker & Award Winner: Laura Jean Bierut, MD, Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry, Health and Behavior Research Center, Washington University, School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA


Laura Jean Bierut, M.D. is the Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Bierut graduated from Harvard Radcliffe College with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. She earned her medical degree and completed psychiatry residency at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Bierut was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society in 2011, and she has been honored by the American Psychiatric Association and Washington University for her efforts to teach and mentor medical students, residents, post-doctoral trainees, and junior faculty.


Dr. Bierut is a physician scientist who has built a successful research program devoted to understanding the genetics of substance dependence with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  She serves on the Advisory Counsel for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and is an active member of the NIDA Genetics Consortium, a national group of scientists who are leading NIDA’s efforts to understand genetic causes of substance dependence. Dr. Bierut led the initial studies, which found that the α5 nicotinic receptor subunit genes on chromosome 15 and the α6β3 nicotinic receptor subunit genes on chromosome 8 increase a smoker’s risk for nicotine dependence.  In collaboration with other groups, it has since been demonstrated that the same genetic variants that contribute to smoking in the chromosome 15 region also influence the development of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In recognition of Dr. Bierut’s research contributions, she was awarded the 2014 Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease.  Dr. Bierut is currently leading efforts to evaluate the efficacy of genetically directed treatment in addiction.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Epidemiology and Public Health Keynote Themed Lecture 

Time: 1:30 p.m.- 2:30 p.m.


Location: Key Ballroom 1-6 (Main Building, 2nd Floor)

Session Chair:Judith J. Prochaska, PhD, MPH

Keynote Speaker: VADM Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH

United States Surgeon General, Washington, DC, USA

Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, the 20th Surgeon General of the United States, was sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence on September 5, 2017. Dr. Adams, a board-certified anesthesiologist, served as Indiana State Health Commissioner from 2014 to 2017. Dr. Adams, a Maryland native, has bachelor’s degrees in both biochemistry and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a master of public health degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine.

Dr. Adams was also an associate professor of clinical anesthesia at Indiana University School of Medicine and a staff anesthesiologist at Eskenazi Health, where he was Chair of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee.  He has served in leadership positions at a number of professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists. He is the immediate past Chair of the Professional Diversity Committee for the American Society of Anesthesiologists.


As Health Commissioner, Dr. Adams presided over Indiana’s efforts to deal with the state’s unprecedented HIV outbreak.  In this capacity, he worked directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as with state and local health officials and community leaders, and brought the widest range of resources, policies and care available to stem the epidemic affecting that community.  


He also helped with the successful launch of Indiana’s state-based, consumer-driven alternative to Medicaid expansion and worked with the state legislature to secure more than $10 million to combat infant mortality in high-risk areas of the state.


Dr. Adams’ motto as Surgeon General is “better health through better partnerships.” As Surgeon General, Dr. Adams is committed to maintaining strong relationships with the public health community and forging new partnerships with non-traditional partners, including business and law enforcement.


He has pledged to lead with science, facilitate locally led solutions to the nation’s most difficult health problems, and deliver higher quality healthcare at lower cost through patient and community engagement and better prevention.


As Surgeon General, Dr. Adams oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which has approximately 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in nearly 600 locations around the world to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of our nation and our world.



Friday, February 23, 2018: 

Clinical Themed Plenary Lecture: Technology and Smoking Cessation:

Is it all Smoke and Mirrors?


Time: 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

Location: Key Ballroom 1-6 (Main Building, 2nd Floor)

Session Chair: Chris Bullen MBChB, DObst, DCH, MPH, PhD,



Plenary Speaker: Robyn Whittaker, MBChB, MPH, PhD, FNZCPHM

Associate Professor, Clinical Director of Innovation, Waitemata

District Health Board and University of Auckland, Auckland,

New Zealand


Dr. Robyn Whittaker (MBChB, MPH, PhD, FNZCPHM) is the Clinical Director of Innovation at Waitemata District Health Board’s Institute of Innovation and Improvement (i3) in New Zealand. She is also Associate Professor and co-lead of health informatics & technology research at the National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI), University of Auckland. Robyn’s research interests are in mobile health and digital health – using ICT to increase access to health services. Her research has included text messaging, video messaging, Internet and apps in topics such as smoking cessation, cognitive behavioural therapy, weight management, alcohol, health information for young families, cardiac rehabilitation, and self-management support for people with diabetes. She is the lead author of the Cochrane systematic review of the use of mobile phones for smoking cessation. She is an Associate Editor of Digital Medicine (a new npj journal), an invited expert to the World Health Organisation/International Telecommunication Union’s global mHealth programme (Be Healthy, Be Mobile), on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Tricorder XPrize, and was a Harkness Fellow in the U.S. Dept of H&HS in 2010/11 where she was on the Secretary’s Text 4 Health committee.

Friday, February 23, 2018: 

New Investigator Jarvik-Russell Plenary Award Session


Time: 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.


Location: Key Ballroom 1-6 (Main Building, 2nd Floor)

Session Chair: Thomas R. Kirchner, PhD


Award Recipient Speaker: Andrea Villanti, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Vermont Center on Behavior & Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA


Andrea Villanti, Ph.D., M.P.H., is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Vermont Center on Behavior & Health, at the University of Vermont. She also holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Dr. Villanti’s primary focus is on young adult tobacco use, including predictors and patterns of use and interventions to reduce tobacco use in young adults. She also has expertise in translational research to improve tobacco control policy and program decision-making, including tobacco regulatory science. She received her doctorate in social and behavioral sciences from the Johns Hopkins University and her master’s in public health degree from Columbia University.


Friday, February 23, 2018: 

Policy Themed Keynote Plenary Lecture: An Update on FDA’s Comprehensive Plan on Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation


Time: 2:45 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

Location: Key Ballroom 1-6 (Main Building, 2nd Floor)

Session Chair:Mitch Zeller, JD


Keynote Speaker: Scott Gottlieb, MD, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, US Food and Drug

Administration, Silver Spring, MD, USA

Dr. Scott Gottlieb was sworn in as the 23rd Commissioner of Food and Drugs on May 10, 2017. Dr. Gottlieb is a physician, medical policy expert, and public health advocate who previously served as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs and before that, as a senior advisor to the FDA Commissioner.


Dr. Gottlieb was previously a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the New York University School of Medicine in Manhattan, where he also practiced medicine as a hospitalist physician. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, New York and is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and of Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, where he studied Economics.

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