The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust has awarded a five-year, $20 million grant to Stephenson Cancer Center to fund the expansion of the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center. Grant dollars will directly support the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, a program of the Stephenson Cancer Center. Tobacco use in Oklahoma continues to be our greatest preventable cause of premature death and disability, and the economic cost to our state exceeds $2 billion.
The five-year grant from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust will support the recruitment of 10 nationally funded tobacco control researchers. Two recent recruits, Jenny Vidrine, PhD and Damon Vidrine, DrPh, specialize in developing and evaluating novel, evidence-based tobacco cessation strategies, especially among underserved populations. Other areas of expertise to be recruited include youth tobacco use and prevention, tobacco marketing and health communication, emerging tobacco and nicotine products, and tobacco biomarkers.
Additionally, the new grant will support continued program development at the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center. An emphasis will be placed on establishing a policy education and research arm with a goal of translating recent tobacco-related research into useful and impactful policy to decrease the burden of tobacco in Oklahoma and nationally.
This grant was approved by the TSET Board of Directors, and went into effect July 1, 2015. It replaces a TSET grant to the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center of $7.5 million over five years.