08:00 AM

CSUSM Wins Grant to Train Students in Tobacco-Related Research

Cal State San Marcos has received a grant of $1.3 million from a state agency to train students in research that will help them reduce tobacco-related disease in their communities.

The four-year grant funded by the California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program is a partnership with UC San Diego. It’s called the CSUSM/UCSD Smoke and Vape Free Scholars Initiative Program for Reducing Tobacco Disease in Diverse Communities (SVFSIP).

The training opportunity is tailored to students from racial/ethnic minoritized, low-income or LGBTQ+ groups, the same populations that studies show are disproportionately targeted by tobacco companies and affected by tobacco-related disease.

“I am delighted to bring a training program dedicated to addressing tobacco-related health disparities to our campus,” said Kim Pulvers, a CSUSM psychology professor and the CSU principal investigator for the grant. “I am passionate about this issue and am so excited to have the necessary resources to provide students a substantial training experience. Personally, it will be extremely rewarding to work with students toward the common goal of reducing the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. I am looking forward to teaching them best practices in tobacco research, placing them into great internships, and promoting their success in graduate school and careers.”

Pulvers procured the grant along with CSUSM kinesiology professor Richard Armenta. Pulvers will coordinate the administrative functions of the program, while Armenta will recruit prospective students and support them during their time in the program.  

The principal investigator from UCSD is Dennis Trinidad, a professor of family medicine and public health who previously has collaborated with both Pulvers and Armenta.

The grant will support the training of 15 CSUSM students across two cohorts beginning this August. Students will spend the first year working with a research mentor on an individual prevention or treatment research project. During the second year, they will work with a community-based tobacco control specialist on a local advocacy project.

Throughout the two-year term, the students will receive structured education through a research class and weekly seminars and workshops on tobacco control topics and professional development, and receive academic advising, networking and career guidance.

The program will be run through CSUSM’s Office for Training, Research and Education in the Sciences (OTRES).   

“This program is a great addition to the other training programs we have at CSUSM and fills a gap in our existing programs,” Armenta said. “We are excited that CSUSM students will have the opportunity to work with amazing research and advocacy mentors to address tobacco-related disparities that their own communities face.” 

To be eligible to participate, students must be a member of a racial or ethnic minoritized, low-income or LGBTQ+ group; have an interest in health research or advocacy; and have two years remaining to complete an undergraduate or master’s degree at CSUSM. Selected students will receive an annual stipend of up to $14,760 for two years and 50% tuition and fees coverage for two years.

For more information about the program or application process, go to the OTRES website.