In 2010, NIAAA celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding this year with a fresh, new look and new publications that examined the Institute's pivotal role in alcohol-related research and outreach.

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The Institute hosted a special symposium on October 4, 2010, recognizing the anniversary. At this symposium, leaders in the field discussed the ways in which alcohol research has evolved over the past 40 years and NIAAA's role in this progress.

NIAAA devoted issues of its flagship publications to the milestone. A special issue of Alcohol Research & Health (AR&H) cast a wide net over the multidisciplinary efforts involved in alcohol research and their public health impact. Further commemorating the anniversary, an Alcohol Alert outlined NIAAA's beginnings with the Hughes Act of 1970; its subsequent growth and establishment as an independent Institute in 1974; and highlights of its history, such as the first Fetal Alcohol Syndrome workshop, passage of the minimum legal drinking age laws, and the launch of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).

In 40 years, NIAAA has helped the Nation evolve a more complete understanding of alcohol problems and how to prevent and treat them. The Institute has identified at-risk populations, including pregnant women and youth, and compelled the public to recognize their importance as prevention targets. It has allowed to flourish research that provides health care professionals with many perspectives on how alcohol use affects humans and how best to aim a broader cache of interventions. And it has created a landscape where investigators may pursue novel and cross-disciplinary questions that will build upon the advances in the field that NIAAA will continue to support.