Tobacco Studies Program

Current Scholars

Ayla Ervin is a first-year MPH student with the Community Oriented Public Health Practice program in the Department of Health Services at University of Washington’s School of Public Health. Ayla graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in Community Health Education, focusing on program planning and evaluation. As a health educator, Ayla has worked in many capacities helping young adults to understand the health risks associated with tobacco use. Ayla is interested in the rapidly changing field of tobacco policy in response to the market proliferation of nicotine delivery systems. Ayla is also interested in the intentional targeting of marginalized populations by the tobacco industry, particularly the LGBTQ and African American communities, and the chronically mentally ill.

Jessica Ferro is a second-year Executive Master in Public Health student. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Seattle Pacific University. Since then she has served in the United States Air Force as a Registered Nurse as well as is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, Central America where she grew a passion for preventive health. She began an interest in tobacco prevention and control from taking the courses in the Tobacco Studies Program as her program electives. Currently, Jessica is working on a Positive Community Norms Campaign in Skagit County aimed at preventing underage alcohol and marijuana use. One thing that has come up in this project is that youth are concerned about tobacco use among their peers.

Alex Sirotzki is a second-year Master in Public Health student in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program. He received his Bachelor’s degrees in Medical Anthropology & Global Health and Psychology from the University of Washington. 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.

Shahida Shahrir is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Health Services, School of Public Health. Shahida graduated with a Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2009. Her capstone research investigated data collected on Tobacco Industry advertising practices and promotional activities and was published in Tobacco Control in 2011. Since 2009, she has worked at the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division at the University of Washington managing studies that utilize data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS). Her current research is investigating the use of pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation in a subset of nearly 4,000 smoking Veterans across the United States.

Hong Xiao is a PhD student at the Global Health Department. He has an equivalent Master of Science degree in Public Health (health system tract) and a bachelor Degree in Economics from Peking University. Hong’s dissertation work focuses on assessing the heath impact of the smoke-free legislation at the municipal level in China. He worked closely with experts from China CDC and offered a comprehensive assessment of the smoke-free laws in two mega cities of China by applying rigorous analytical techniques on routine surveillance data. Hong hopes to apply quantitative methods to improve tobacco control policies and interventions with a focus on evidence based decision making. His work will pave the way for similar studies in other cities of China and will reinforce the need for large-scale, effective and comprehensive smoke-free laws at the national level in China.

Tobacco Studies Program Scholars in the news:

Read about our former scholars here.