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.
2014-15 Scholars
[pic] Nick Fradkin is a second-year MPA/MPH student, concentrating in nonprofit management at the Evans School and health systems and policy at the School of Public Health. During his last two semesters at UC Berkeley, Nick helped achieve updated campus smoking policy signage and a more restrictive smoking policy for the university's residential communities. Upon graduation, Nick moved home to Phoenix, Arizona, where he worked in reporting and analysis for Make-A-Wish America and volunteered with the American Lung Association. Before arriving in Seattle, Nick completed an 18-month fellowship with the American Legacy Foundation. After graduate school, Nick hopes to join a nonprofit organization helping to rectify the many social injustices of tobacco use.

[pic] Biraj M Karmacharya is a fourth year PhD student (Epidemiology) and a first year MPH student (Global Health: Leadership, Policy and Management track) at the University of Washington. 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] Elizabeth Medeiros is a first year MPH Health Services - Social and Behavioral Sciences, with an undergraduate degree in Public Health from San Diego State University. While completing her undergraduate degree, she worked on several cancer research projects, ranging from community-based participatory research, psychosocial cancer survivor needs assessments, and breast cancer risk reduction interventions. Following graduation, she worked in Barcelona, Spain on a pancreatic cancer project where she analyzed data to assess metal levels in diet and their association with pancreatic cancer. Her research interests include cancer prevention and health disparities, tobacco control, and behavior change interventions. Elizabeth is interested in integrating her past experience with tobacco-related research for her thesis by implementing a smoking cessation intervention, specifically addressing the role of motivation, targeting Latinos in the Yakima Valley. Upon completion of her MPH, she intends to apply these skills to continue cancer and tobacco prevention research.

[pic] Vasundhara Sridharan is a third 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. She is also working on identifying different groups of individuals who respond to anti-smoking messages in similar ways in order to tailor interventions to both individuals and groups.
Former Scholars
Since its inception in 2003, the UW Tobacco Studies Program (UW TSP) has awarded over $100,000 to 56 student scholars in the form of 25 fellowships and 36 career development stipends.

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."