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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Ralph Hingson Joins NIAAA

News Release

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D., announced today that Ralph W. Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H., has joined NIAAA as the Director of NIAAA's Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research.

I am delighted that Dr. Hingson is now part of the NIAAA leadership," says Dr. Li. "His knowledge and expertise will be invaluable assets to the Institute."

Dr. Hingson comes to NIAAA from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), where he has served since 2001 as Associate Dean for Research. From 1986-2000, Dr. Hingson served as Professor and Chair of the BUSPH Social and Behavioral Sciences Department.

No stranger to the Institute, Dr. Hingson recently co-chaired the Panel on Prevention and Treatment of the NIAAA Task Force on College Drinking, and served on the NIAAA National Advisory Council from 2002-2003. In his new position, Dr. Hingson will oversee NIAAA's portfolio of epidemiologic and prevention research.

"I also have asked Dr. Hingson to play a lead role in developing an initiative for underage drinkers from 9-15 years old that will be patterned after our College Drinking initiative," says Dr. Li.

An expert on drunk driving legislation, Dr. Hingson conducted research that helped to stimulate passage of federal legislation providing incentives for all states to make it illegal for drivers under 21 to drive after any drinking. By 1998 all states had adopted this law. More recently, his research on the relationship between blood alcohol levels and automobile accidents has stirred many states to propose legislation to lower their legal blood alcohol limit to 0.08%. Currently, 47 states have adopted the 0.08% limit. He 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. Dr. Hingson recently wrote a background chapter on the "Social and Health Consequences of Underage Drinking" for the National Academy of Sciences Report to Congress on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking.

Dr. Hingson received a Sc.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. He 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 for seven years on their National Board of Directors. Dr. Hingson helped to develop MADD's Rating the States program which grades national and state efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-impaired driving.

In recognition of his research contributions, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation honored Dr. Hingson 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, Mothers Against Drunk Driving instituted the Ralph W. Hingson Research in Practice Annual Presidential Award, with Dr. Hingson honored as its first recipient.

For an interview with Dr. Hingson, please call the NIAAA Press Office. For additional information on alcohol research and related NIAAA activities, please visit

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, conducts and supports approximately 90 percent of U.S. research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems and disseminates research findings to science, practitioner, policy making, and general audiences.

About the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA):
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of alcohol use disorder. NIAAA also disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic audiences. Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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