Menthol and Flavored Tobacco Bans: The Intersectionality of Research, Community Engagement, and Collaboration

ISD Webinar banner
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024, 11:00 am – Noon PT


This presentation will showcase a multifaceted approach that includes exposing tobacco industry secrets to mobilizing communities, leading to policy implementation and ongoing advocacy efforts.

About the Speaker

Valerie B. Yerger, ND is Professor in Health Policy at the University of California, San Francisco. She is clinically trained as a naturopathic doctor and licensed midwife. For over twenty years, Dr. Yerger’s research and advocacy work have focused on framing the disproportionate burden of tobacco among marginalized communities as a social injustice and informing public health policies to effectively reach and engage these communities. Her research of previously secret tobacco documents uncovered the tobacco industry’s relationships with African American leadership groups, the accumulation of nicotine in tissues containing melanin, the disproportionate marketing of menthol cigarettes in inner-city communities, and tobacco companies’ in-house research on the use of menthol as an additive in cigarettes. Dr. Yerger has made significant contributions to understanding factors that contribute to tobacco use among disadvantaged groups. She brings a novel focus on the demand side of the tobacco epidemic that frames the social and political determinants of health as underlying barriers to tobacco prevention and smoking cessation. Dr. Yerger is a founding member of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), which spearheaded the national movement to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. Most recently, Dr. Yerger took the lead in launching a coordinated effort between the AATCLC, Emotional Brain Training, Inc., the UCSF Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education, and other trusted community partners across the country to respond to the White House Cancer Moonshot Initiative to reduce smoking. Her substantial experience in tobacco control, community engagement, policy leadership, and training are all valued skills, reflected in the number of awards she has received, including the UCSF Chancellor Award for Public Service, the State of California Tobacco Control Program’s Carol M. Russell Award for Leadership and Vision in Tobacco Control, the Public Health Law Center’s Game Changer Award, the Truth Initiative’s Sybil G. Jacobs Outstanding Use of Tobacco Industry Documents, and most recently, the Claire D. Brindis Community Engagement Award.

About the ISD Webinar Series

The Investigator Skills Development (ISD) Webinar Series is presented by the Investigator Skills Development Unit (ISDU) of the UCSF Research Coordinating Center to Reduce Disparities in Multiple Chronic Diseases (RCC-RD-MCD). 

Co-Sponsored by CAPS Town Hall and the CAPS Implementation Science and Health Systems (ISHS) Core

ISDU Director: Mandana Khalili, MD, MAS, Professor of Medicine, UCSF, Chief of Clinical Hepatology, San Francisco General Hospital

ISDU Co-Director: Edwin Charlebois, PhD, Professor of Medicine,  Division of Prevention Science, UCSF