National Council on Problem Gambling’s Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to Rachel Volberg

Rachel Volberg, a research professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, has received the 2021 Lifetime Research Award from the National Council on Problem Gambling. Next year, Professor Volberg will give a keynote talk at the council’s 36th national conference in Boston.

“This award for research is only bestowed in exceptional times and circumstances, to individuals who exemplify at least 20 years of treatment on behalf of problem gamblers,” the national council states. It’s given “to honor a person for exceptional long-standing achievement in the field of research to assist problem gamblers and their families.”

Dr. Volberg, whose first job in the field was to evaluate two treatment programs for problem gamblers in New York state, found an astonishing dearth of research on the topic. In 1988, she was the first investigator to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health to examine the prevalence of problem gambling in the United States.

“If you had told me in 1985 that I would be in my 60s and still doing gambling research, I’d have laughed in your face,” she says. “But there was always something intriguing that was coming along – new ways to conduct surveys and measure gambling problems. Learning to do this well was a huge challenge. I still have so much work to do.”

Dr. Volberg joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts in 2013. She is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego. She earned a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California, San Francisco.

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