African American woman using laptop

Pascal: Culturally Tailored Conversational Agent for Quitting Smoking

Project Number:
Project Period:
09/24/2021 - 06/30/2026



Dr. Michael Kotlyar, associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Dr. Serguei Pakhomov, professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Sandra Japuntich, clinical psychologist and senior investigator at Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute, are leading this project to assist African Americans in quitting smoking. They will develop a culturally sensitive virtual assistant employing artificial intelligence (AI) to support individuals in their journey to quit smoking. This initiative aims to break down barriers caused by racism and increase access to proven smoking cessation methods, contributing to the prevention of MCC within these communities. The study team consists of expertise in behavioral and pharmacological interventions for smoking cessation including Drs. Paul Thuras, Anne Melzer, Warren Mckinney, as well as  Jane Schulz and study manager Sheena Dufresne.


Sandra Japuntich, LP, PhD
Principal Investigator