Tobacco Studies Program

Faculty & Staff

Sarah Director
Sarah Ross-Viles MPH is the Director of the TSP. She worked at Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) for the previous decade, most recently as the Program Manager of community-wide grants from the CDC to implement policy, systems, and environmental interventions to address tobacco prevention and control, healthy eating, and active living. Sarah also developed the Smoke-free Housing Program at PHSKC. She assisted the King County Tobacco Prevention Program in developing and implementing policy regulating smoking in public places and electronic vapor devices. Sarah is a 2006 graduate of the Community Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) MPH program at UW, where she was also a two-time TSP Scholar. She has supervised and mentored UW students since 2007 and has taught Health Promotion in the COPHP program since 2014. Her specific interests are health equity, health policy, and tobacco control.




Dr. Abigail Halperin founded the UW Tobacco Studies Program (TSP) in 2002 and continues to lead as its Co-Director. Dr. Halperin has been an investigator and consultant on local, national, and international research and development projects related to tobacco prevention, treatment, and policy, and is a leader in the field. She received her MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, completed Family Medicine residency at Seattle’s Swedish Hospital, and earned her MPH at UW. Read more about Dr. Halperin here.
Dr. Gillian Schauer is a Senior Policy Fellow with the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation, and a Guest Researcher with the Office on Smoking and Health at CDC. Prior to working at CDC, Dr. Schauer served as the Manager of the Training and Outreach Division at Free & Clear (now Alere Wellbeing), a healthy behaviors company focused largely on tobacco cessation. Dr. Schauer’s research focuses on tobacco and marijuana policy and co-use, tobacco cessation, and health systems transformation. She has more than 40 peer-reviewed publications on these topics. Dr. Schauer received her MPH in Health Services from UW and PhD from Emory University. 


Graduate Staff Assistant
Alex Sirotzki joined the Tobacco Studies Program staff as a graduate staff assistant in January 2019. He is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program at the UW School of Public Health. Alex is also a current scholar of the UW Tobacco Studies Program. Alex discovered an interest in tobacco studies when he took Tobacco and Public Health. He is currently working with the Washington Poison Center to develop a Training-of-Trainers curriculum to help reduce harm from and prevent youth use of cannabis, which will include information specific to tobacco to address some of the overlap of tobacco and cannabis use. Alex is particularly interested in the growing overlap of the tobacco and cannabis industries, especially as cannabis legalization continues, and is passionate about integrating equity and harm reduction into all policies and work pertaining to tobacco and cannabis.


UW TSP faculty and staff receive support from several funders and partners.