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Ruth Gassman
Indiana Prevention Resource Center

Mohammad Torabi
Department of Applied Health Science

Last modified: Monday, October 3, 2005

Ruth Gassman appointed Indiana Prevention Resource Center executive director

New focus on screening and intervention for drug users

Oct. 3, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Ruth Gassman has been appointed executive director of the Indiana Prevention Resource Center and assistant professor in Indiana University's Department of Applied Health Science in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

An experienced drug prevention researcher, educator and clinical supervisor, Gassman will oversee research and collaborative activities aimed at reducing drug and alcohol abuse throughout Indiana. In addition to continuing the center's work in prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among non-users, Gassman plans to expand into secondary prevention programs such as screening and intervention services targeting individuals in the early stages of drug involvement.

"My goal is to narrow the gap between research and practice in drug abuse prevention by furthering collaborations across the state. I am excited to work in a center where research can inform practice, and practice can in turn guide research," Gassman said. "I would like to see us build upon our primary prevention efforts that target non-users, typically youth, to include secondary prevention, which targets those who have used drugs or are using them experimentally or socially. The aim of secondary prevention is to reduce substance use and thereby reduce related harm, including prevention of abuse and dependency. A benefit of promoting drug use reduction among adult populations is that it encourages more protective, low-risk family environments for children."

The IPRC, operated through Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, supports prevention professionals in Indiana through research, materials, consultation and technical assistance. The center also provides information and referral services to Indiana residents. The IPRC is best known for its annual survey of drug and alcohol use among adolescents, its tobacco retailer inspection program and its coordinating role in statewide after-school prevention programs.

"Dr. Gassman's educational background, research training, and dedication to the mission of drug abuse prevention make her an excellent candidate to lead our Indiana Prevention Resource Center," said Mohammad Torabi, chair of the Department of Applied Health Science. "I am very pleased to have her serve as executive director of the IPRC, which is an outreach arm of the Department of Applied Health Science. We all look forward to working with her in making a difference in the health and well-being of our fellow Hoosiers."

Gassman's research and scholarship have focused on alcohol and drug health services, including screening and brief intervention for drug and alcohol abuse, evaluation of services, and education of health care professionals. From 2000 to 2005, Gassman served as an associate scientist in the IU Department of Sociology, during which time she directed two studies for the Indiana State Treatment Needs Assessment Project sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. She also brought with her to IU a research grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which she recently completed.

Gassman holds a Ph.D. degree in social work from Rutgers University. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in public health at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a master's degree in counseling education and a bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Iowa.

Prior to pursuing her doctorate, Gassman served as a therapist in a private psychiatric practice in Iowa and as clinical supervisor of a hospital-based substance abuse program in Illinois. Her experience working with drug treatment patients led to her goal of making research as relevant as possible to the daily lives of practitioners.

In conjunction with her appointment to the IPRC, Gassman also joined the Applied Health Sciences faculty. She is currently teaching a course titled "Drug Use in American Society."

The IPRC is funded, in part, by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, financially supported through the HHS/Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.

Gassman can be reached at 812-855-1237 and