About Us

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Background

Mission 

The Mission of the AUB Tobacco Control Research Group (AUB-TCRG) is to promote public health by producing and disseminating evidence based tobacco control research.

Objectives

  • At the international level
    • Generate new knowledge in multiple fields related to tobacco use and control

  • At the regional level
    • Share research findings and successes in tobacco control across countries
    • Facilitate networking and communication among tobacco control researchers and civil society in the region
    • Support research collaborations

  • At the national level​
    • Disseminate research findings in a user-friendly way to the public
    • Transfer evidence of best practices in tobacco control legislation to policy and decision makers
    • Build the capacity of civil society to implement and evaluate interventions in promoting tobacco control
    • Advocate for the implementation of strong tobacco control policies in Lebanon

Background​

The AUB- Tobacco Control Research Group (AUB- TCRG) was established informally in 1999. The group gathered a team of professionals who are interested in tobacco control research, particularly in relation to waterpipe. Since its inception, the AUB TCRG is multidisciplinary in nature, with specializations in medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, health promotion, health policy, health management, chemistry, economics, environmental policy and engineering. With a focus on the waterpipe as a type of tobacco consumption, AUB TCRG has created a niche for its expertise.​

The impact of this expertise is evident through:

  • The publication of an International Development Research Centre (IDRC) monograph on results of the epidemiologic research
  • A significant research contribution to the WHO Advisory Note against waterpipe smoking
  • Active participation of AUB TCRG at the WHO FCTC Conference of Parties meetings
  • The appointment of a member of AUB TCRG as the Chairman of the Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg) as part of the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative.  

Research Projects and Activities

AUB TCRG is focused on dissemination and translation of research to policy as well as building a regional network of researchers involved in tobacco control and, more specifically, waterpipe tobacco use.

AUB TCRG is a major catalyst in the tobacco control policy debate and has contributed greatly towards moving it to the forefront of the national agenda. This is being accomplished through one-on-one meetings with parliamentarians, interviews with key players on local TV stations, numerous articles published in the press, workshops with civil society and journalists, public conferences and events, as well as various activities with students. 

AUB TCRG has received grants over the years to describe the epidemiology related to waterpipe use among youth, investigate the components of smoke, assess the long-term health impact of its use, understand the acceptability of use among women in the region, compare parent-child dyads attitudes towards use, identify biomarkers of its use, understand attitudes of youth and adults to a variety of potential legislations for tobacco control, and describe the policy environment surrounding tobacco control in Lebanon.

With respect to waterpipe toxicants, researchers from the AUB TCRG have pioneered the science of testing toxicant yields in waterpipe smoke chemistry using specially devised instruments. These studies reported that waterpipe tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, formaldehyde, nitrogen, nitric acid, nicotine and other toxicants such as arsenic, chromium, lead and volatile aldhehydes.

If interested in any publication, please contact us.

Networking

AUB TCRG has a strong working relationship with local and regional researchers who are involved in conducting tobacco control research, particularly regarding waterpipe smoking. Supporting and establishing such networks enriches the research process and ensures that production of research evidence builds on previous findings. Other such networks with local and regional civil society are also being formed to powerfully advocate for strong tobacco control policies in the region. 

Funding

AUB TCRG has received generous funding from various international agencies supporting tobacco control efforts.

Affiliations​



Department of Mechanical Engineering Central Environmental Core Laboratory

Department of Chemistry 
Department of Economics

Department of Agricultural Sciences

Regional Network

​The AUB-TCRG has a very good working relationship with researchers in the region who are involved in conducting tobacco control research, particularly regarding the waterpipe. The main objective of having a regional network is to develop common agendas and research priorities across the region. This objective can be achieved through identifying potential members for a regional research network of tobacco control researchers in the first place; and coordinating a regional research network of tobacco control researchers.

We are working on

A- Identifying potential members for a regional research network of tobacco control researchers
B- Coordinating a regional research network of tobacco control researchers​


First Regional Research Network Meeting

A group of researchers from the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC), the Jordanian University for Science and Technology (JUST), Virginia Common Wealth University (VCOMU), University of Pittsburg (UPITT) and the American University of Beirut (AUB) met in September 26-28, 2010. The meeting was sponsored by the KHCC. The meeting brought together researchers from the region to identify common research interests and potential areas of collaboration in research, specifically on the narghile.  The three main outcomes were (1) identifying research questions and potential cross country projects (2) discussing plans and agreeing to organize a “state of the science” conference on Waterpipe Tobacco Research  and producing a joint monograph that summarizes the current status of knowledge on waterpipe tobacco research.

Second Regional Research Network Meeting

The second meeting was held on 31 January till 2 February 2011. This meeting aimed at bringing together NIH-funded researchers from the U.S. (Virginia Common Wealth University -VCOMU), Jordan (King Hussein Cancer Center- KHCC, the Jordanian University for Science and Technology- JUST), Lebanon (the American University of Beirut - AUB), and Syria (Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies) to form an “International Consortium for Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking Research”. If funding is granted the group proposed over 5 years, to conduct studies to answer core questions needed to advance evidence-based responses to WTS by: investigating the health effects of waterpipe tobacco smoking including lung cancer and cardiopulmonary disease; advancing understanding of ​WPS dependence; evaluating current policy influence on WTS; and outlining WTS-specific policy needs in countries where WTS is highly prevalent. 

Third Regional Research Network Meeting

A third meeting took place in Amman in June 2011. The objectives of this meeting was to finalize the draft proposal for a regional research grant.  This meeting will also start preliminary planning for the International conference on waterpipe tobacco smoking.

REGIONAL OUTCOMES

Building a network of various regional researchers with a common vision has been initiated. The International Waterpipe Tobacco Research conference that is planned will contribute towards moving the evidence base on waterpipe tobacco research in the region and internationally and identifying new interested researchers.  Our meetings and work on a common proposal ensures that production of research evidence builds on previous findings.

If interested in the regional research collaboration please contact : Dr. Rima Nakkash: rn06@aub.edu.lb​

Members

​​​​Coordinator of AUB-TCRG
Associate Director - Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center 
Faculty of Health Sciences
American University of Beirut
Van Dyck Building
PO Box 11-0236
Beirut, Lebanon 
Office: Room 335, Van Dyck
Tel: 961 1 350000 ext. 4667
Fax: 961-1-744470

Rima Afifi
Professor and Associate Dean

Faculty of Health Sciences
American University of Beirut
Van Dyck Building
PO Box 11-0236
Beirut, Lebanon 
Office: Room 313, Van Dyck
Tel: 961 1 350000 ext. 4664;4660 

Monique Chaaya
​Professor

Epidemiology and Population Health
Faculty of Health Sciences
American University of Beirut
Van Dyck Building
PO Box 11-0236
Beirut, Lebanon 
Office: Room 205 A, Van Dyck
Tel: 961 1 350000 ext. 4649/4640

Ghazi Zaatari
​Professor and Chairperson
Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs
Chair of  WHO’s Tobacco Regulation Study Group (TobReg)
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Faculty of Medicine
American University of Beirut
Saab Medical Library Building
PO Box 11-0236
Beirut, Lebanon 
Tel: 961 1 350000 ext. 5163

Alan Shihadeh
Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering and Architecture 
American University of Beirut
Raymond Ghosn Building
PO Box 11-0236
Beirut, Lebanon 
Office: Room 411, Raymond Ghosn
Tel: 961 1 350000 ext. 3590/3465

Abla Sibai
Professor and Chair
Co-founder and the current President of the newly established ‘Center for Studies on Ageing’ in Lebanon

Epidemiology and Population Health
Faculty of Health Sciences
American University of Beirut
Van Dyck Building
PO Box 11-0236
Beirut, Lebanon 
Office: Room 206, Van Dyck
Tel: 961 1 350000 ext. 4647
​​
Norbert Hirschhorn
​Advisor of AUB- TCRG

Dr. Hirschhorn’s career in public health over more than four decades spans award-winning research, teaching, and management of complex, multi-disciplinary projects, both in the United States and abroad.  He was a co-developer of the life-saving method of oral rehydration for diarrhea in adults and children, from the bedside to national programs, for which he was honored with awards from the Dana and Pollin Foundations, and commended by President Clinton.

After two years as Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, he served as Director of the Division of Family Health at the Minnesota Department of Health. He is a lecturer at Yale University School of Public Health. Now semi-retired, he serves intermittently as consultant to groups researching tobacco industry documents and tobacco control. He lives in London and Beirut, providing pro bono assistance in tobacco control to the Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut.

Jad Chaaban
Associate Professor of Economics

Department of Agricultural Sciences
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
American University of Beirut
Office: Wing A- room 311
Phone: +9611350000 ext. 4442

Nisreen Salti
Associate Professor of Economics

American University of Beirut
Office: Ada Dodge Hall/235
Phone: +9611350000 ext. 4068

Najat Saliba
Professor in Analytical Chemistry

Faculty of Arts and Sciences
American University of Beirut
Office: Chemistry; Room: 508
Phone: +9611350000 ext. 3992

Asma Bazzi
​Environmental core Lab

American University of Beirut
Office: Medical Center/B-301 
Phone: +9611350000 ext. 5204

​Arafat Tfayli​​
​Associate Professor of Clinical Specialty

Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Hematology/Oncology as a member of the Naif K. Basile Cancer Institute 
American University of Beirut
Phone: +9611350000 ext. 
E-mail​: at35@aub.edu.lb