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College of Science & Mathematics

One Year's Time

The College of Science and Mathematics made an addition to its already commendable staff, by welcoming Dr. Bethany Raiff to the Psychology Department in 2012. Just one year later, Dr. Raiff's impact in her department is being felt throughout the entire University. "To receive grants and awards from the National Institutes of Health is a huge accomplishment," says Dr. Eddie Guerra, Assistant Dean of Research and Grants, "she's been an amazing addition to the College and is producing fantastic results for just one year."

            Dr. Raiff is currently working on three projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all dealing with smoking cessation, with one examining substance abuse more generally. "Smoking is the number one cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States, and most people who quit end up relapsing," explains Dr. Raiff about her commitment to smoking cessation, "we want to use different forms of interventions and set up contingency plans that people who are having trouble quitting will be more likely and willing to use than existing treatments."

Two of the projects, Game Based Smoking Cessation and Technological Innovations in the Behavioral Treatment of Smoking, examine a form of intervention that is easily accessible by anyone in the country. The Game Based Smoking Cessation project uses the Internet to implement an evidence-based contingency management intervention, which offers online incentives via videogames for not smoking. Using a web-camera and carbon monoxide monitors, researchers will be able to determine whether or not the participant has been smoking over the previous eight hours, and deliver incentives when abstinence has been confirmed.

The rewards will involve unlocking new levels, getting access to resources, and receiving social support from other smokers who are also playing the videogame and trying to quit smoking. The game is being developed by Red Hill Studios and Entertainment Science, and will be similar to Facebook Games, Farmville and Cityville. The only difference between the two smoking cessation projects is that the Technological Innovation in the Behavioral Treatment of Smoking examines the effects of rewarding participants with small amounts of money that they previously deposited for the program, as well as additional monetary incentives.

            Outside the University, Dr. Raiff continues to excel above all standards as she is collaborating with a number of institutions including the University of Florida, on a number of projects related to smoking cessation and diabetes management.

            Whether it be researching at the College or assisting other Universities, Dr. Raiff's hardworking attitude and demonstrations of profound initiative could not make the CSM staff more proud of her contributions to Rowan University, and to her students. The spotlight shines a light on an exceptional faculty member.