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  Free To Grow
  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
  722 West 168th Street,
  8th Floor
  New York, NY 10032

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NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.

Evaluation Team Directory

Mark Wolfson
Principal Investigator

Mark Wolfson is the Principal Investigator of the national evaluation of Free to Grow: Head Start Partnerships to Promote Substance-free Communities.  Dr. Wolfson is Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Community Research, Department of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine.  Before joining the faculty at Wake Forest in 1998, Dr. Wolfson was a faculty member of the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.  He has conducted extensive research on substance use, particularly the role of community and organizational factors in understanding alcohol and tobacco use by youth.  His recent work examines the intended and unintended effects of alcohol and tobacco policy and programs and the interaction of collective action by citizens and professional groups and the work of state actors in shaping public policy on alcohol and tobacco use.  In addition to directing the national evaluation of Free To Grow, Dr. Wolfson is Principal Investigator of the national evaluation of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's $100 million Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program.

Robert H. DuRant
Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. DuRant is Professor and Vice Chair of Pediatrics and Professor of Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.  Prior to this, he was Co-Chief of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine at Children's Hospital in Boston, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Associate Professor of Maternal and Child Health of Harvard School of Public Health and Associate Professor in the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  His current research centers on the initiation of tobacco, alcohol and other substance use by young adolescents, the prevention of adolescent substance use and youth violence prevention.  Dr. DuRant has published 159 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has conducted research and education in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.  Although past research has centered on the epidemiology and prevention of health risk behaviors among adolescents, he has conducted substantial research on younger, ethnically and racially diverse children. While at the Medical College of Georgia, he initiated and evaluated the Effective Black Parenting curriculum in the population of a clinic he directed. He currently is a member of the evaluation team with Drs. Altman and Wolfson for the Safe Schools Healthy Students grant for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Schools.

Doug Easterling
Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Easterling is on the faculty at Wake Forest University School of Medicine based in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Section on Social Sciences and Health Policy. Prior to joining the faculty at Wake Forest, he directed the Division for Community-Based Evaluation at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he designed and carried out evaluations for a number of foundations and nonprofit organizations.  Dr. Easterling co-edited Promoting Health at the Community Level (Sage Publications, 2003), which summarizes the evaluation findings from seven of The Colorado Trust's multi-site initiatives where he was the Director of Research and Evaluation.  From 1999-2003, he served as a member of a blue ribbon panel convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify appropriate methods for evaluating projects that aim to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in health.   Dr, Easterling is now engaged as an evaluator of community-building initiatives funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Winston-Salem Foundation.

Robert W. Oldendick

Dr. Oldendick is the Director of the University of South Carolina's (USC) Survey Research Laboratory and an Associate Professor of Government and International Studies.  Before coming to USC in 1989, he was the Assistant Director of the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati.  He is an expert on questionnaire construction and has served as principal investigator or project manager on more than 200 survey-based projects.  Dr. Oldendick has published extensively in such journals as Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior, American Journal of Political Science and Political Methodology.

Heather Champion
Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Champion is a Research Associate in the Section on Social Sciences and Health Policy, Department of Public Health Sciences.  She is also a co-investigator on two studies funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)).  Both studies are designed to implement and evaluate an environmental strategies intervention aimed at reducing the consequences associated with high-risk drinking among college students. She also has a special interest in studying sexual victimization and dating violence among adolescents and has served as a co-principal investigator on a study examining the relationship between sexual victimization among adolescent females, alcohol use, and other health risk behaviors.

Todd Rogers

Dr. Rogers is a California-based consultant specializing in evaluation of public health programs and policy initiatives.  For the past three years, Dr. Rogers has served as Senior Evaluation Consultant to the California Department of Health Services.  He serves on the Evaluation Advisory Committee for the Florida Tobacco Control Program and has worked on planning and evaluation of statewide tobacco control programs in Mississippi and Texas.  From 1987 to 1997, Dr. Rogers was Senior Research Scientist at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, within Stanford University Medical School.  In the mid 1990s, he served as Scientific Director for the statewide Independent Evaluation of the California Tobacco Education Program and led the evaluation of the California Wellness Foundation's Violence Prevention Initiative.   From 1987 to 1996, Dr. Rogers was director of the Stanford Health Promotion Resource Center.  He serves on the Editorial Boards of the journals Tobacco Control and Health Education Research, is a member of the Scientific Council for Extramural Grants of the American Cancer Society (National Home Office) and represents the Department of Health Services on the Scientific Advisory Committee of California's Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.

Ralph D'Agostino, Jr.
Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. D'Agostino is an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences in the Biostatistics Section at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Currently, he is the Principal Investigator on National Institutes of Health grants developing statistical methodology for handling measurement error in longitudinal studies and handling missing observations in observational studies and clinical trials.   In addition, he is the Principal Investigator for both the National Cancer Institute funded Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases grant studying Diabetes in Youth.  He currently has published over 70 manuscripts and book chapters in areas of statistical methodology, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and genetics.  He currently serves as an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Epidemiology and for the Journal of Cardiac Failure.  He is currently a member of the Skeletal Biology Development and Disease National Institutes of Health Study Section and serves on six current Data Safety and Monitoring Boards for ongoing clinical trials.  


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.