I joined the College of Public Health faculty in 2008, and I have been actively involved in public health since 1995. My academic background is in behavioral epidemiology, and my research and practice experiences in public health focus around the primary prevention of chronic disease. I have worked in research and in practice in a range of settings, and make efforts to bring my real world experiences into the classroom to help students make the academic-practice connection. Teaching the next generation of public health professionals is a key part of professional duties.
The theme of my research agenda is the use of a multi-level, social-ecological approach in the prevention or reduction of tobacco use, with a particular interest in understanding the role of policy, systems and environmental change (PSEC) strategies and their influence on population health behavior, particularly tobacco use. My work has been influenced to a great extent by the social-ecological model, and its five levels of influence on human behavior: individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and policy. Given the focus on primary prevention of tobacco use, the population groups of greatest interest in my work are the age groups of youth and young adults. Most recently, I have expanded this focus to include other vulnerable populations at high risk for tobacco use, including low-income individuals and underserved rural residents.