Tobacco Studies Program



The University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health (SPH) founded the UW Tobacco Studies Program (TSP) with grants from the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) and the American Legacy Foundation’s Scholarship, Teaching, and Education Program for Tobacco Use Prevention (STEP UP) initiative, focused on three main goals:

  1. Increase the number of graduate students entering the workforce of professionals who specialize in tobacco prevention, treatment, and research
  2. Better integrate tobacco-related issues into graduate public health education
  3. Build capacity for tobacco-related education in schools of public health while supporting linkages between academia and practice

The STEP UP grants funded three years of curriculum development and two years of pre-doctoral student scholarships, creating the UW’s first course addressing the tobacco epidemic, HSERV 558, Tobacco & Public Health, which has been offered every year since 2003.


The Washington State (WA) Department of Health (DOH) Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) funded the TSP for two more years. Goals of this phase of the TSP included:

  1. Continue building an academic program to increase awareness and knowledge about the tremendous toll of the tobacco epidemic on the public’s health and potential solutions
  2. Provide mentorship, training, and financial support to students who wish to develop careers in the field of tobacco control research or practice
  3. Address the increase in tobacco-related health disparities among vulnerable populations

In collaboration with the UW School of Social Work, the TSP created a second course, HSERV 556, Seminar in Health Disparities; The Case of Tobacco, which was converted to an online format, and has been offered continuously since 2005. A paper documenting many TSP accomplishments was published in a special issue of Public Health Reports in 2006.


In addition to unrestricted grant funding from Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning & Change the WA DOH TPCP and our local health department, Public Health Seattle-King County (PHSKC) contributed to TSP student scholarship funds and provided additional support in the form of guest lecturing in TSP courses, offering practicum and thesis opportunities, mentorship, and supervision of projects.


Since 2011, the program has been funded by a gift from the James & Gayle Halperin Foundation, with administrative and teaching support from the Department of Health Services, in the School of Public Health.

Read more about current education and scholarship opportunities with the TSP.