Wayne State University


Spring Speaker Series


Friday, April 28th, 2017, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., 5057 Woodward, Rm 7909 (7th floor):

  • David A. Sbarra, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona,            (http://sbarra.faculty.arizona.edu/), "Social Adversity and Health: The Case of Divorce" 


Marital separation and divorce are relatively common and stressful events that can set in motion a host of bio-psycho-social changes that ultimately increase risk for poor mental and physical health outcomes. This talk will review a program of research that seeks to unpack the mechanistic pathways linking marital dissolution to distal health outcomes. I review work on this topic from the perspectives of both social epidemiology and social psychophysiology, where the former informs the broad-based questions of interest and the latter examines the psychological and social responses that may convey health-relevant biological changes. Although the talk will focuses on marital separation and divorce, my ultimate goal is to reveal principles for understanding how adults cope with social adversity more generally.


Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., 5057 Woodward, Rm 7909 (7th floor):

  • Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., Director of Vermont Center on Behavior and Health, Professor of Psychiatry and Psychological Science, University of Vermont," Tobacco Control and Regulatory Science Research on Motivating Behavior Change in Vulnerable Populations " 


U.S. population health lags far behind most other developed countries.  Expert consensus identifies the domain of personal behavior (i.e., lifestyle) as the largest contributor to this pattern and the area where there is the greatest opportunity for producing meaningful improvements.  Cigarette smoking stands out as the greatest preventable cause of poor health and premature death in developed countries being responsible for 480,000 annual deaths in the U.S. and 5,000,000 globally—and increases U.S. direct medical care costs by $170 billion annually.  While there has been tremendous progress in reducing smoking since the landmark 1964 Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health, the gains have been unevenly distributed.  Smoking remains quite prevalent in socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, those with substance use or other psychiatric disorders, and certain racial/ethnic minority and gender/sexual minority groups.  Reducing smoking in these vulnerable populations is going to require multi-faceted and innovative tobacco and regulatory science efforts.  I will review progress and challenges in this topic area.   


Past speakers:

Reginald Tucker-Seeley, Ph.D., Assistant professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard University, (http://www.tuckerseeley.org/),  "Financial well-being and health: Results from the Money-Health Connection Study