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The 2015 Frank M. Norfleet Forum for the Advancement of Health to Focus on Alcohol Use Disorders and Populations Most at Risk


Norfleet GraphicNational and Local Speakers Discuss Genetic Factors in Alcohol Abuse; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; Perils of Mixing Energy Drinks and Alcohol

Alcohol use disorder (AUD), characterized by misuse of alcohol despite negative physical, mental, personal, financial or legal consequences, is a major national public health issue. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 17 million adults and 855,000 adolescents in the United States have been diagnosed with AUD.

On Thursday, April 30, The Frank M. Norfleet Forum for the Advancement of Health will focus on alcohol use disorders in adults and youth. The one-day forum titled, “Populations Particularly Vulnerable to Alcohol Use Disorders,” will be held from 7:30 a.m. until 5:15 p.m. in the auditorium at the FedEx Institute of Technology, 365 Innovation Drive on the University of Memphis campus.

Four main areas will be examined — genetic vulnerability to alcohol use disorders; alcohol use during pregnancy and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; vulnerability to AUD in youth and the risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks; and the role of immune status and inflammation on the liver and pancreas in AUD. Internationally-known leaders in each area will address these and other issues related to alcohol abuse and the populations most at risk.

The annual forum is made possible thanks to the support of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and its donors. An endowed fund to support the forum was established in 1979 with a gift from Dunbar Abston, Sr., in honor of Frank M. Norfleet.

Each year, the forum brings together researchers, health care providers and the community to interact, discuss and address major health problems. The Department of Pharmacology in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is organizing this year’s event.

“Our community will greatly benefit from attending and listening to leaders in the field of AUD,” said Alex M. Dopico, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology at UTHSC, as well as chair of the UTHSC organizing committee for this year’s forum.

“Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, immune system depression and liver disease are all highly prevalent in the Memphis community,” Dr. Dopico said. He believes information regarding teens mixing alcohol and energy drinks will be especially useful to area educators, as well as to health practitioners, law enforcement officials and members of the community who must deal with the human cost of this dangerous combination. “The forum is designed to attract a wide audience interested in the societal and medical consequences of AUD.”

The forum is open to health care workers, community leaders, educators and the public for a $25 registration fee, which includes lunch. Registration for physicians receiving continuing medical education credit is $50. Register at the door or online at https://uthsc.edu/norfleet-registration. For more information and to see a list of the speakers, go to uthsc.edu/pharmacology.