Two HHD centers train young scientists to help prevent risky behaviors

August 1, 2011

A new generation of scientists will be able to reduce the likelihood that people will take up smoking, adopt poor eating habits, and engage in risky sexual behaviors, among other unhealthy choices, thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

As health care costs rise, the abilities of scientists to help combat preventable illnesses becomes more critical. The new grant will fund the continuation of Penn State’s Prevention and Methodology Training (PAMT) program. PAMT will train seven graduate and two post-graduate researchers to develop interventions that promote healthy lifestyles and to apply cutting-edge, statistical research methods to such interventions.

The PAMT program is a joint effort between two research centers at Penn State, The Prevention Research Center and The Methodology Center, both of which research the prevention of smoking, AIDS, substance abuse, and other vital health issues. The program is directed by Mark Greenberg, director of The Prevention Research Center; Linda Collins, director of The Methodology Center; and Edward Smith, associate director of The Prevention Research Center.

The goal of PAMT is to train two types of scientists: prevention researchers and methodologists. Prevention researchers develop interventions to reduce exposure to risks, such as smoking, poor diet, or risky sexual behavior. Methodologists develop the statistical research methods necessary to design and evaluate these interventions. Through the program, prevention researchers learn to become comfortable with the latest and most innovative research methods, and methodologists begin to understand the realities and challenges facing prevention efforts in real-world settings.  

Started in 2005, the PAMT program has trained 26 scientists to date. Former trainees have gone on to research and teaching positions at Penn State and other top universities and research facilities around the country. The new trainees will arrive at Penn State for the beginning of fall semester 2011

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Aaron Wagner (PIO):

For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or