Stephen Higgins

Photo courtesy of University of Vermont

March 30, 2023

Scholar to speak about changing health-related behavior at SIU on April 5

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Stephen Higgins, professor and director of the University of Vermont’s Center on Behavior and Health, will present the Robert Russell Visiting Scholar lecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale April 5, and the public is welcome to attend. The presentation, “Leveraging the Reinforcement Process to Improve Health,” will be at 1 p.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library.

Higgins’ research employs behavioral economics and pharmacology to study tobacco and illicit drug use and other health-related risk behaviors in at-risk populations. During his presentation, he will discuss the team science approach, which is a collaborative effort using the expertise and strengths of professionals with different areas of knowledge to achieve a desired result, and highlight the reinforcement process and how it can be used to improve the overall health of patients. He will incorporate a historical perspective in his presentation and offer insights into how incentives foster health-related behavior change, leading to maximized chance of sustained behavior and health change.

Extensive, recognized expertise

The Virginia H. Donaldson Endowed Professor of Translational Science in the departments of psychiatry and psychology science at Vermont, Higgins has been the principal investigator on nearly 20 National Institutes of Health grants related to behavior and health and published more than 425 articles, with behavioral pharmacology as the topic for many. He has earned numerous national awards for research excellence, including the 2017 Mentorship Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the 2011 Brady-Schuster Award for Outstanding Behavioral Science Contributions to Psychopharmacology or Substance Abuse, the 2001 NIH-MERIT Award and the 2001 Don Hake Basic/Applied Research Award.

He has served many national leadership roles as well, including president of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and the American Psychological Association’s Division on Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse.

No reservations are required to attend. Light refreshments will be served afterward. Sponsors include the College of Health and Human Sciences, the School of Human Sciences, the School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences, and the Public Health program.

Email for more information or questions.