Tobacco Scholars

Students who are selected into the Tobacco Scholars program receive advanced opportunities for education and training in tobacco prevention, research, treatment and policy.

More information about the Tobacco Scholars Program, including application and program requirements, can be found here.
2013-14 Scholars
[pic] Joseph Cerimele is a physician at UWMC and is also enrolled in the UW School of Public Health MPH program in the Department of Health Services. He completed psychiatry residency training in 2012 at Mount Sinai School of Medicine where he served as chief resident. Joe is currently a research fellow in an NRSA fellowship in primary care psychiatry. His main interest is in the recognition and treatment of psychiatric illness in patients seen in primary care settings, specifically on enhancing accurate recognition and quality of care for primary care patients with bipolar disorder. He is also interested in delivering tobacco use treatments to patients with psychiatric illness and has published on the use of varenicline in patients with schizophrenia.

[pic] Nick Fradkin is a first-year MPA student at the Evans School. He attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate, majoring in Legal Studies, rowing on the lightweight crew team, and photographing campus news and sports for The Daily Californian. Nick also co-founded and served as the policy director for TobaccNO, helping achieve updated campus smoking policy signage and a more restrictive smoking policy for the university's residential communities. Soon after graduation, he began working in business intelligence for Make-A-Wish America in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. He now works remotely for Make-A-Wish and attends evening courses at the UW. Although his primary objective as a tobacco control advocate is to reduce the public's exposure to secondhand smoke, Nick’s recent fellowship with the American Legacy Foundation ignited his interest in tobacco-related social injustices, such as those inherent to industry marketing.

[pic] Ragan Hart is a second year MS student in Genetic Epidemiology, from the Institute for Public Health Genetics. Ragan graduated with a BS in Exercise Science from Auburn University, and has been involved in advocacy efforts against the tobacco industry for numerous years. Her research has been in gene-drug-environment interactions on the risk for different health outcomes, as well as investigating associations between body mass index and post traumatic stress disorder in Vietnam veterans. She is interested in advancing her knowledge of personal health interventions related to tobacco prevention, education, and research that can be applied to her future work.

[pic] Biraj M Karmacharya is a third year PhD student in the UW Department of Epidemiololgy. He completed his M.B.B.S (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) from Kathmandu University, Nepal and received MSc (Tropical Medicine) from Mahidol University, Thailand. He founded and has been leading the Department of Community Programs at Dhulikhel Hospital-Kathmandu University, Nepal since 2006. In this position, he has been deeply involved in developing and setting up innovative community based health endeavors in rural Nepal. He has also been very much involved in forging collaborations with various international institutions and has been engaged in setting up the Kathmandu University’s Global Health Program. In 2011 he was awarded International Fulbright Science and Technology Award to pursue PhD in Epidemiology. He is one of the co-investigators of the recently launched Dhulikhel Heart Study, which is a population-based longitudinal cohort study on cardiovascular diseases and risk factors in Nepal, one of the first of its kind in a developing country. He is interested in developing and implementing evidence-based programs to reduce tobacco consumption in this cohort and use this experience for a broader national level strategies and policy development.

[pic] Vasundhara Sridharan is a second year doctoral student from the Social/Personality domain in Psychology. Vasundhara graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology in April 2011 from the University of Madras in India. Her research interests are mainly focused on learning how individuals respond to anti-smoking messages and to identify those individual differences that can predict positive responses to different types of messages. Vasundhara is also interested in and does research on how people form impressions of others’ personalities and biases in those attributional processes that underlie impression formation.
Former Scholars
Since its inception, the UW TSP has awarded a total of $93,600 in 22 fellowships and 22 career development stipends to 34 student scholars.

Graduates of the program continue to work as researchers, service providers and program administrators at various state agencies, non-profit organizations and health facilities across the US. Tobacco Studies Program alumnae are currently employed at the following organizations and agencies:
  • Alere Wellbeing, Inc. (Formerly Free & Clear, Inc.)
  • American Legacy Foundation
  • Association of Schools of Public Health
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Tobacco Control Legal Consortium
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • King County Metro
  • UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs
  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • UW Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI)
  • UW Social Development Research Group (SDRG)
  • Various state, county and local departments of health, including AR, CA, CO, TX and WA

In their own words, here's what former scholars say about the UW Tobacco Studies Program and their fellowship work:

"TSP changed the way I view the influence of tobacco on people, communities, and populations. Being a scholar helped me continue to develop skills as a critical thinker, inquisitive reviewer of scientific information, and compassionate researcher that remains with me in my professional and personal pursuits."

"I gained a broad knowledge on the subject of smoking cessation from different aspects presented by speakers in the program. This knowledge helped me become a better care provider."

"I would like to pursue a career in tobacco control because of all that I was exposed to in the program - from journal clubs to talks, to coursework and the mentors I was connected with given the program's resources and networking. I had a general interest in smoking cessation prior to coming to UW to pursue an MPH degree, but the TSP program turned that interest into a passion. The numerous activities exposed me to the issues in tobacco control and made me want to tackle tobacco-related health disparities (especially among low SES populations, where we need to focus our future efforts)."

"My experience in the Tobacco Studies Program gave me a first-look into the field of behavioral risk factors and health outcomes. My current work in chronic disease prevention and outcomes assessment began with principles I learned in the program."

"While the Program did not change my goals - to work within a key program of a health department - it helped me move rapidly towards them. At this point, I would find it hard to not work in tobacco since I am so familiar with the impact it has and am very excited about the strategies to minimize that impact."

"Before the Tobacco Studies Program, my area of professional interest was related to alcohol abuse. The program was a 'wake up call' for the importance of tobacco use as a determinant of health and made me shift my area of interest."

"While I was interested in tobacco issues before the program, the class, journal club meetings and research project opened my eyes to the range of issues regarding tobacco. The program sparked my interest in young adult and international issues, both of which I had not thought of before. It also made me realize that while some programs appear to be utilizing 'best practices' that we always need to be aware of industry motives with regard to tobacco control."