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  1. Charles L Gruder
  1. Special Research Programs, Office of Health Affairs, University of California Office of the President, 300 Lakeside Drive, 12th Floor, Oakland, California 94612-3550, USA

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This supplement to Tobacco Control reports the results of research that was funded by the state of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP). In 1989 California voters passed Proposition 99, a ballot initiative that raised the excise tax on tobacco products at the rate of 25 cents per pack of cigarettes, and earmarked 5% of the revenue from this tax for “research on the causes, prevention, and treatment of tobacco-related disease”. The University of California, as the state’s official research arm, administers TRDRP and awards grants to investigators in a variety of scientific and scholarly disciplines at numerous not-for-profit institutions in the state. Since 1990, TRDRP has awarded more than 380 research grants totalling $116 million.

The eight articles in this supplement report research findings relevant to tobacco control policy. Management of the grants that supported these projects was the responsibility of TRDRP grant officer Frank Capell. Like many of us, Frank had been a smoker in his youth. With one of those terrible ironies that sometimes occurs, he was struck by a virulent tobacco-related disease – oesophageal adenocarcinoma – and, despite aggressive treatment and a valiant fight, he succumbed on 1 April 1994.

In his eulogy for Frank, Cornelius L Hopper, the University of California’s Vice President for Health Affairs, called upon Frank’s family and friends “to celebrate his life..., his living.... I know that each of us will nourish and carry into the future our own special, personal memories of Frank Capell the man, as brother, husband, father, professional colleague and, above all, as friend.” Dr Hopper noted that Frank was brilliant; a highly creative professional, a keen student of politics, and a tough-minded, goal-directed, absolutely resolute individual. These characteristics served him well in life, including his final battle. In Dr Hopper’s eloquent words: “He brought all of the resources of that wonderful analytical mind and that strong will to bear on his illness. He asked questions. He demanded answers. He challenged the health delivery system. He ‘pushed the envelope.’ He never relinquished total control of himself or the treatment process to anyone.”

Frank was a key member of the TRDRP staff. He was with TRDRP virtually since its inception and left his mark on the programme. He was the coordinator of applications and grants in the areas of public health and public policy for tobacco control, as well as those in epidemiology and smoking prevention and cessation interventions. Frank conceived and oversaw the development of the Research Grant Application and Monitoring information system that now constitutes the foundation of TRDRP’s grants management. Frank was also TRDRP’s formal (and informal) representative in Sacramento, the state capital, where he was well known and trusted from his years of work in the state Department of Health Services. Frank was also instrumental in organising several tobacco control seminars in the early years of Proposition 99, which brought together researchers and professionals responsible for California’s tobacco control efforts and laid the foundation for establishing TRDRP’s research priorities. Inspired by his experiences at a national workshop in which he participated, Frank conceived and developed a workshop for California investigators interested in the secondary analysis of evaluation data on the state’s tobacco control programmes. This workshop is a model for cooperation between TRDRP and the state’s tobacco control programme.

Frank left behind his wife, Nancy, their daughter, Holly, and six brothers, as well as his many friends and colleagues. He is sorely missed by all of us.

In recognition of Frank Capell’s significant contributions to TRDRP in general, and to the grants that supported the research reported here, in particular, I am pleased to dedicate this supplement to his memory.


Special Research Programs, Office of Health Affairs, University of California Office of the President, 300 Lakeside Drive, 12th Floor, Oakland, California 94612-3550, USA