Campus: CSU Long Beach -- July 16, 2003

CSULB Department of Health Science Awarded Research Grant to Study Tobacco Use in Cambodian Population

The Department of Health Science at California State University, Long Beach has been named the recipient of an 18-month, $106,456 pilot Community Academic Research Award from the University of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program to support the Cambodian Tobacco Research Initiative.

“The program will look at tobacco use in Long Beach’s Cambodian population, one of the largest outside of Cambodia,” explained Robert Friis, chair of the CSULB Health Science Depart-ment. Friis, who is principal investigator of the project, will collaborate with co-investigator and health sciences faculty member Mohammed Forouzesh. Other faculty members and departmental students will also contribute to the research.

The Cambodian Association of America, whose executive director is Him Chhim, is the community organization that will partner with the department.

The project, with funding from Proposition 99’s higher cigarette taxes aimed at research into tobacco-related diseases, will discover Cambodian-American attitudes toward the use of tobacco. “Very little health related research has been done on the local Cambodian community and I think one reason our grant proposal was recognized was this unique perspective,” said Friis, who joined CSULB in 1988.

The research will gather baseline data by organizing focus groups that represent key members of the local Cambodian population. The project will then use the data to design an
intervention study to reduce tobacco use among the Cambodian community. “Our first goal is to find out the meaning to this population of tobacco,” Friis explained. “Is it a recreation past time or does it have cultural significance? Once we know the answer to that, we want to work with the Cambodian community to increase awareness of the health risks associated with tobacco use.”

CSULB’s Health Science Department is currently in ongoing research on a number of tobacco-related programs including their most recent work in a three-year, $500,000 grant from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program that dealt with issues associated with the smoke-free bars law.

“It speaks well for the department’s savvy that we created a winning proposal,” Friis pointed out. “It acknowledges that we have key individuals at CSULB who are interested in tobacco research and that we have developed a track record that is credible within the research community.”

Media Contacts: Rick Gloady, 562/985-5454
Shayne Schroeder, 562/985-1727

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