Chris Pritsos, chair of the Department of Nutrition at the University of Nevada, Reno, has been appointed to serve on the Statewide Epidemiological Workgroup, a group charged with helping to build effective substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.
“I’m honored to be selected to be a part of this organization,” Pritsos said. “It’s important work in a community sense, and can help make a difference for individuals too.”
The workgroup, a part of Nevada’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Agency, conducts statewide research looking at potential causes for substance abuse such as availability, price and community norms as well as looking at the consequences of substance abuse such as the effect on schoolwork and community crime rates. The research is then used by statewide agencies to direct their efforts for effective prevention and treatment programs. The work group operates under the Nevada Division of Mental Health.
Pritsos, a professor in the Department of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, was asked to serve because of his specialty in tobacco abuse research. His research includes studying the effects of environmental tobacco smoke on workers, determining whether air filtration systems minimize health effects and looking into health problems caused by exposure to second-hand smoke.
He has served as president of the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition where he helped bring to voters the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2007, which is now law and prohibits smoking in most public places in Nevada.
In addition to his work on the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition, Pritsos has participated in several statewide coalitions working to reduce the number of Nevada citizens suffering from substance abuse. He also conducts research to help policy makers determine how to protect casino workers from the damaging effects of second-hand smoke.
“I look forward to contributing my expertise in tobacco control issues to the Statewide Epidemiological Workgroup as tobacco use and exposure continues to be a major health issue and economic drain on the state,” Pritsos said.