University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Valerie Yerger, MA, ND

Valerie Yerger, MA, ND

Associate Professor, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Tobacco Control

Research Summary

Dr. Valerie B. Yerger is an Associate Professor of Health Policy in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences and in the Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education. Dr. Yerger, who is trained in naturopathic medicine and licensed in California as a naturopathic doctor, brings to the CTCRE a novel focus on tobacco usage as a social justice issue that disproportionately affects marginalized communities. Dr. Yerger incorporates tobacco industry documents research into her work. She has years of experience researching and analyzing tobacco documents, examining specifically the tobacco industry’s relationships with African American leadership groups and the tobacco companies’ marketing of menthol cigarettes in inner-city communities. Since 2004, Dr. Yerger has coordinated the CTCRE annual tobacco documents workshop. Since 2007, Dr. Yerger has successfully secured funding to offer diversity scholarships to tobacco control advocates from the generally under-represented communities, so they may travel to San Francisco to attend the workshop. Dr. Yerger initiated the research on melanin's potential role in nicotine exposure, nicotine dependence, and smoking behavior. Melanin is the primary determinant of skin color in human beings, and tissues containing melanin have been shown to accumulate nicotine. This is exciting research that has led to collaboration with other national and international investigators. Dr. Yerger's research interests also include investigating ways African Americans may increase their ability to quit smoking and remain tobacco-free by reframing tobacco and tobacco industry targeted marketing as social justice issues and utilizing a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. Dr. Yerger is part of the UCSF team invited by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to search the Legacy tobacco documents archives for tobacco industry research on menthol cigarettes, leading to a number of publications in a special supplement of a leading specialty journal. Dr. Yerger provided expert testimony of the findings from this research to the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC), who then provided guidance to the FDA on the regulation of menthol in tobacco products.

Education

University of California, Berkeley, B.S., 06/1981, Natural Resources
John F. Kennedy University, M.A., 06/1985, Health Education
Bastyr University, N.D., 06/1992, Naturopathic Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, Fellowship, 05/2005, Health Policy Research


Professional Experience

  • 1998-1999
    Staff Research Associate, Institute of Health Policy Studies, UCSF
  • 1998-2000
    Public Administrative Analyst, Institute of Health Policy Studies, UCSF
  • 2000-2002
    Researcher, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, UCSF
  • 2003-2008
    Assistant Researcher, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, UCSF
  • 2008-2012
    Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, UCSF
  • 2012-present
    Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, UCSF

Selected Publications

  1. Yao T, Ong MK, Max W, Keeler C, Wang Y, Yerger VB, Sung HY. Responsiveness to cigarette prices by different racial/ethnic groups of US adults. Tob Control. 2017 Jul 26.
    View on PubMed
  2. Lempert LK, Yerger V, Glantz SA. Letter by Lempert et al Regarding Article, "Menthol and Nonmenthol Cigarette Smoking: All-Cause Deaths, Cardiovascular Disease Deaths, and Other Causes of Death Among Blacks and Whites". Circulation. 2016 Aug 30; 134(9):e119-20.
    View on PubMed
  3. Keeler C, Max W, Yerger V, Yao T, Ong MK, Sung HY. The Association of Menthol Cigarette Use With Quit Attempts, Successful Cessation, and Intention to Quit Across Racial/Ethnic Groups in the United States. Nicotine Tob Res. 2016 Aug 24.
    View on PubMed
  4. McDaniel PA, Offen N, Yerger V, Forsyth S, Malone RE. "Tired of watching customers walk out the door because of the smoke": a content analysis of media coverage of voluntarily smokefree restaurants and bars. BMC Public Health. 2015 Aug 08; 15:761.
    View on PubMed
  5. Battle RS, Cunradi CB, Moore RS, Yerger VB. Smoking cessation among transit workers: beliefs and perceptions among an at-risk occupational group. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2015 May 13; 10:19.
    View on PubMed
  6. Yerger VB, Battle RS, Moore RS. Evaluating the implementation process of a citywide smoke-free multiunit housing ordinance: insights from community stakeholders. Am J Public Health. 2014 Oct; 104(10):1889-91.
    View on PubMed
  7. McDaniel PA, Offen N, Yerger VB, Malone RE. "A breath of fresh air worth spreading": media coverage of retailer abandonment of tobacco sales. Am J Public Health. 2014 Mar; 104(3):562-9.
    View on PubMed
  8. Yerger VB, Cataldo JK, Malone RE. Older smokers could be the strongest supporters for U.S. government regulation of tobacco: a focus group study. Tob Induc Dis. 2013 Aug 17; 11(1):17.
    View on PubMed
  9. Malone RE, McGruder C, Froelicher ES, Yerger VB. Being part of something: transformative outcomes of a community-based participatory study. Health Promot Pract. 2013 Mar; 14(2):205-12.
    View on PubMed
  10. McCandless PM, Yerger VB, Malone RE. Quid pro quo: tobacco companies and the black press. Am J Public Health. 2012 Apr; 102(4):739-50.
    View on PubMed
  11. Yerger VB. Menthol's potential effects on nicotine dependence: a tobacco industry perspective. Tob Control. 2011 May; 20 Suppl 2:ii29-36.
    View on PubMed
  12. Yerger VB, McCandless PM. Menthol sensory qualities and smoking topography: a review of tobacco industry documents. Tob Control. 2011 May; 20 Suppl 2:ii37-43.
    View on PubMed
  13. Anderson SJ, McCandless PM, Klausner K, Taketa R, Yerger VB. Tobacco documents research methodology. Tob Control. 2011 May; 20 Suppl 2:ii8-11.
    View on PubMed
  14. Kreslake JM, Yerger VB. Tobacco industry knowledge of the role of menthol in chemosensory perception of tobacco smoke. Nicotine Tob Res. 2010 Dec; 12 Suppl 2:S98-101.
    View on PubMed
  15. Froelicher ES, Doolan D, Yerger VB, McGruder CO, Malone RE. Combining community participatory research with a randomized clinical trial: the Protecting the Hood Against Tobacco (PHAT) smoking cessation study. Heart Lung. 2010 Jan-Feb; 39(1):50-63.
    View on PubMed
  16. King G, Yerger VB, Whembolua GL, Bendel RB, Kittles R, Moolchan ET. Link between facultative melanin and tobacco use among African Americans. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009 Jun; 92(4):589-96.
    View on PubMed
  17. Yerger VB, Wertz M, McGruder C, Froelicher ES, Malone RE. Nicotine replacement therapy: perceptions of African-American smokers seeking to quit. J Natl Med Assoc. 2008 Feb; 100(2):230-6.
    View on PubMed
  18. Yerger VB, Przewoznik J, Malone RE. Racialized geography, corporate activity, and health disparities: tobacco industry targeting of inner cities. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2007 Nov; 18(4 Suppl):10-38.
    View on PubMed
  19. Malone RE, Yerger VB, McGruder C, Froelicher E. "It's like Tuskegee in reverse": a case study of ethical tensions in institutional review board review of community-based participatory research. Am J Public Health. 2006 Nov; 96(11):1914-9.
    View on PubMed
  20. Yerger VB, Malone RE. Melanin and nicotine: A review of the literature. Nicotine Tob Res. 2006 Aug; 8(4):487-98.
    View on PubMed

Go to UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI