History of the Organization: Half a Century of Innovative Research
The Alcohol Research Group has conducted epidemiological studies of alcohol and health services since 1959, when Drs. Wendel Lipscomb (a physician and epidemiologist) and Genevieve Knupfer (a psychiatrist and sociologist) started the California Drinking Practices Study, a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to the California State Department of Public Health. ARG's milestones include:
Drs. Wendel Lipscomb and Genevieve Knupfers received an NIMH grant.
The growing organization named itself the Social Research Group, led by Dr. Don Cahalan. It was affiliated first with George Washington University, the West Coast Division of the Social Research Group, later becoming a unit within the School of Public Health of the University of California at Berkeley.
NIAAA T32 training grant awarded the organization at the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley, with a grant entitled "Graduate Research Training on Alcohol Problems" from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA; grant T32 AA07240). The current training grant in its 31st year, is still conducted at ARG under the auspices of UC Berkeley's School of Public Health.
The Social Research Group became one of the first of five National Alcohol Research Centers, receiving P50 AA05595 funded by NIAAA. The current NIAAA-supported Center is now in its 30th year.
The Social Research Group becomes the Alcohol Research Group (ARG).
Under the leadership of Robin Room, PhD, the group declared its alcohol focus by becoming the Alcohol Research Group (ARG) and became affiliated with the Medical Research Institute (MRI) of San Francisco, later the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI).
ARG affiliates with the Public Health Institute (PHI).
With the departure of Room, ARG, now under the direction of Dr. Raul Caetano, moved to the Western Consortium for Public Health (WCPH) and in due course the ARG Center and projects were integrated into the Oakland-based non-profit Public Health Institute (PHI) where we now reside.
As the diversity of scientists grew, so did the number of areas of study. Current research focuses on investigating not only alcohol but also other drug use, related problems, substance use disorders, morbidity and mortality, health services research related to emergency departments and treatment of people with addictions, alcohol/drug policy development and analysis, and the study of community responses and interventions. Methodological and measurement studies related to these topics round out the picture.
Tom Greenfield, PhD is appointed Center PI on the departure of Dr. Raul Caetano. In 2001 the Center Grant is continued; Dr. Marjorie Robertson and then Tom Greenfield serve as Executive Directors of ARG.
ARG Center is re-awarded as a P30 Center Core Grant, the first of these for NIAAA. The number of collaborative grants with other institutions and organizations has greatly expanded over the years. The Center's active collaborations currently include ones with the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto, University of Stockholm (SoRAD), University of California San Francisco; and the University of Victoria (Centre for Addicions Research of BC), among numerous others.
Dominique Lampert becomes Executive Director of ARG, while Tom Greenfield serves as its Scientific Director. ARG scientific staff now includes 18 scientists, and biostatisticians, with over 10 affiliate scientists at neighboring institutions.