Field of Work: Building a transdisciplinary research network focused on the etiology of tobacco use and dependence
Problem Synopsis: In the early 1990s, RWJF identified substance abuse as a priority goal area. Within that goal area, it identified tobacco for special emphasis because of the huge health and health care costs attributable to tobacco use. The likelihood that improving knowledge about the etiology of tobacco use and dependence might significantly improve prevention, treatment and policy interventions to reduce the consequences of tobacco use; and the possibility that a transdisciplinary research network could produce knowledge significantly different than knowledge produced in more traditional approaches to knowledge development, led RWJF to create the Tobacco Etiology Research Network (TERN).
Synopsis of the Work: TERN (January 1996 through July 2008) brought leading researchers from a variety of perspectives and disciplines to work collaboratively on a regular basis. Ten different disciplines (psychopharmacology, behavioral genetics, human development and adolescence, neurobiology, societal influences, proximal influences [those factors that are closest to the individual], epidemiology, clinical interventions, longitudinal methods, and ethnography) formed the network core team.
According to the chair of the research network, the key results were: