2020 Darlene Walton Scholarship Award Announcement

We are pleased to announce that Isabella Romano is the recipient of this year’s Darlene Walton Scholarship Award, an award that supports students pursuing careers in the field of mental health and addiction research.

Isabella Romano

Isabella Romano

Isabella is an HRI Trainee and a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Over the past two years, she has made significant contributions to evaluation studies related to tobacco use among patients receiving treatment for substance use disorder.

Specifically, Isabella explored how the introduction of a tobacco-free policy impacted tobacco use in patients. Using data collected by HRI’s Recovery Journey Project, she examined how exposure to the tobacco-free policy was linked to reductions in tobacco use both during and after treatment. Her findings were published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. A second paper will be published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine in the coming weeks.

Isabella also contributed to a follow-up study examining patient perceptions of the tobacco-free policy and their experiences receiving treatment within a tobacco-free setting. The study provided insights into behaviours and attitudes affecting tobacco use. It also identified strengths and weaknesses of the policy, as well as opportunities to further support patients who are trying to discontinue tobacco use.

Together, findings from these studies have informed areas for policy improvement at the study site (Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Ontario). These findings are also relevant to other organizations interested in enhancing tobacco-free policies to benefit patients across treatment settings.

Congratulations, Isabella, and thank you for your important research contributions!