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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 19, 2003

Undergraduate Binge Drinking Topic Of Aug. 26 Lecture

Peter E. Nathan, Ph.D., professor of community and behavioral health and University of Iowa Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology, will present the 2003-04 UI College of Public Health Distinguished Faculty Lecture at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26 in the Seebohm Conference Room (Room 283) of the Eckstein Medical Research Building (EMRB).

Nathan's presentation, "Binge Drinking at Iowa: Past, Present, and Future," is free and open to the public. A reception in the EMRB atrium will follow the lecture.

Nathan will discuss how binge drinking by U.S. undergraduates has achieved epidemic proportions. Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more for women at least once in a two-week period. Frequent binge drinkers follow that pattern at least three times in two weeks.

National survey figures indicate that close to half of all undergraduates meet criteria as binge drinkers; about one in five meet criteria as frequent binge drinkers. At the UI, the numbers are even higher. Surveys indicate that almost 70 percent of UI undergraduates are binge drinkers and almost 50 percent are frequent binge drinkers.

"Given the significant adverse social, academic and health-related consequences of binge drinking, these figures are extremely worrisome," Nathan said.

In his presentation, Nathan will review the national and Iowa data on binge drinking, look closely at their impact on behavior, speculate on why binge drinking at the UI is so prevalent, and suggest how it might be brought under better control.

Nathan received an A.B. in social relations with honors from Harvard College in 1957 and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Washington University in 1962. He joined Rutgers University in 1969, and was appointed chair of the Department of Clinical Psychology in 1974. He assumed the directorship of Rutgers' Center of Alcohol Studies in 1983.

In 1990, he became vice president for academic affairs, dean of faculties and UI Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the UI. In 1993, he became provost and, two years later, served as acting president of the university. In 1996, he stepped down from the acting presidency to join the Department of Psychology. In 2001, he was appointed professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the UI College of Public Health.

Nathan has served on numerous advisory groups, including the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health. He has written and spoken extensively on the issues of alcohol abuse and dependence, syndromal diagnosis and psychotherapy outcomes. He has served on several journal editorial boards and has received numerous honors for his work, including the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Knowledge in 1999.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this lecture, contact Kathy Hicklin, UI College of Public Health, at 319-384-5491.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

CONTACTS: Media: Dan McMillan, 319-335-6835, Writer: Debra Venzke.

PHOTOS: A photo of Peter Nathan is available at