Nationally recognized USC researcher to lead smoking cessation initiative

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Photo:  Adam Leventhal, right, accepts the 2017 American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB) Mentorship Award on March 22 in Arizona. (Photo/Courtesy Adam Leventhal)

Adam Leventhal, PhD, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, will lead a grant-funded effort to maximize smoking cessation resources at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Leventhal has been awarded more than $8 million in grants as principal investigator from the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. In January, he received a $100,000 award from a partnership between CVS Health Foundation and National Cancer Institute to improve smoking cessation efforts for cancer patients and survivors at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

As a partner in former Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative to accelerate cancer research, CVS has supported smoking cessation efforts at eight cancer centers across the U.S. The award is part of the Be The First campaign — a five-year, $50 million initiative to help people lead tobacco-free lives.

USC Norris will leverage the funds to increase the reach and effectiveness of its existing tobacco cessation services.

“USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center services one of the largest and most ethnically diverse areas of any National Cancer Institute cancer center,” Leventhal said. “This funding will enhance our program tracking and evaluation, increase our outreach and education to clinicians and patients, and allow us to disseminate new evidence-based smoking cessation medications and counseling strategies to our patients.”

Leventhal is a clinical psychologist and public health scientist with expertise in the etiology, epidemiology, and psychopharmacology of tobacco use and other addictive or health-damaging behaviors.

He directs the USC Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory, a research group that studies contextual factors that modify the addictiveness of drugs, with the goal of explaining and reducing health disparities in addiction among women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals of low socioeconomic status, youth and people with mental illness.

In August he will accept the American Psychological Foundation (APF) Theodore Millon Award at the 2017 American Psychological Association Convention in Washington, D.C. The honor, presented jointly by APF and Society of Clinical Psychology, recognizes outstanding mid-career advances in the science of personality psychology.

Leventhal also was named a 2017 American Academy of Health Behavior Mentorship Awardee on March 22. The honor recognizes excellence in mentoring junior scientists in health behavior.

— By Larissa Puro