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University of Iowa News Release


June 21, 2007

Aquilino Named Director Of Iowa Tobacco Research Center

Mary Lober Aquilino, Ph.D., assistant dean and associate professor of community and behavioral health in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, has been appointed head of the Iowa Tobacco Research Center (ITRC). The center conducts innovative research and education in tobacco use and prevention, and it provides and supports culturally competent and accessible smoking cessation services.

Aquilino has been with the ITRC since its inception in 2001, serving first as a research scientist and then as deputy director. In these positions Aquilino assisted former center director John Lowe, UI professor and head of community and behavioral health, in several research projects related to tobacco use and cessation.

"I hope to continue to build on the excellent foundation and reputation created by Dr. Lowe," Aquilino said. "My experience with the ITRC from its inauguration allows me to step into the role of director with substantial working knowledge of the center's activities."

Aquilino said that one of her important roles in the ITRC has been helping to oversee Quitline Iowa, the toll-free, statewide smoking cessation telephone counseling hotline. The service recently underwent an expansion in administrative staff to handle an increase in calls following the state's March 2007 cigarette tax increase.

"The passage of the tax increase had a positive impact on the number of Iowans attempting to quit smoking," Aquilino said. "Calls to Quitline Iowa have more than doubled from the same time period one year ago."

Aquilino said she expects that Medicaid coverage of nicotine replacement therapy products begun in January of this year also will encourage tobacco users in Iowa to seek help in quitting.

Aquilino earned a master's degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1982, and a doctorate in education from the University of Iowa in 1993. In addition to smoking cessation, Aquilino's research interests include teen pregnancy prevention, youth risk behaviors, and standardized nursing language.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Gleeson, 319-384-4277,; Writer: Brandy Huseman.