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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Rutgers Alum Receives NIH Director’s Early Independence Award

Dr. Daniel Giovenco, a May 2016 PhD graduate from the Rutgers School of Public Health, was one of only 16 scholars selected to receive an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. This $1.25 million grant provides a mechanism for exceptional early career scientists to move rapidly into independent research positions without the need for traditional post-doctoral training. To be eligible, candidates must be within one year of completion of their terminal degree and possess the intellect, scientific creativity, drive, and maturity to flourish independently.


[Photo: Dr. Daniel Giovenco]

Dr. Giovenco received his MPH and PhD in health education and behavioral science at the Rutgers School of Public Health. Dr. Giovenco trained under Dr. Cristine Delnevo, Director of the School’s Center for Tobacco Studies, where he also served as a research associate. Dr. Delnevo, a well-known tobacco regulatory scientist, is also the Interim Dean and Chair of the Department of Health Education and Behavioral Science at the Rutgers School of Public Health.  Dr. Giovenco’s doctoral research explored population patterns of non-cigarette tobacco use, with a particular focus on e-cigarettes. He has authored or co-authored over a dozen peer-reviewed manuscripts, including the first study to examine neighborhood characteristics of “vape shop” locations. His proposed research program will use geographical information systems, field data collection, and survey data to uncover how community characteristics, such as the tobacco retail environment, influence racial and ethnic disparities in tobacco use.

When asked about his readiness for research independence at such an early stage in his career, Dr. Daniel Giovenco credited the strong mentorship and exceptional research opportunities he had at the Rutgers School of Public Health. “Even though I was a doctoral student, my mentor and colleagues at the Center for Tobacco Studies treated me as an equal collaborator on their projects. They also gave me the freedom to pursue my independent research interests and continually provided support for training opportunities and networking experiences.”

A list of the 2016 Early Independence Award Recipients is found here: