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David B. Abrams, PhD

  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

202 454 5785

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PhD, Rutgers University, 1981
MS, Rutgers University


My focus is on providing scientific leadership in tobacco control using transdisciplinary and translational research strategies. Systems integration is arguably the single most critical missing ingredient needed to inform policy and to maximize the as yet unrealized potential to significantly reduce tobacco use prevalence. Specifically, I explore innovative ways to put what we know into widespread practice and policy to make an efficient impact (reach x efficacy / cost) on the population. I bring scientific expertise at the conceptual, basic science, applied, policy and administrative levels with over 30 years experience in tobacco control research. I have experience in the role of government agencies in improving the nation’s health (e.g., as former director of OBSSR at NIH). I have extensive experience in testing theory, in research design, and in the measurement of mechanisms of behavior change and outcomes including: social cognitive and motivational constructs, psychiatric, alcohol and substance abuse comorbid conditions, measurement of tobacco use trajectories, patterns and transitions, nicotine dependence and biochemical validation of smoking. I also have experience in evaluation of clinical trials (behavioral and pharmacological) and in the deployment of dissemination, implementation and community-based research to inform policy and practice including optimization of interventions across a variety of contexts, settings and modes of delivery. Since 2009, I have focused on the role research can play in informing the regulatory decisions underlying the policies of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). This includes coordinating development of a strategic research agenda to inform FDA’s regulatory authority, convening expert thought leaders, and conducting rapid research and simulation modeling in areas such as menthol, e-cigarettes, and evaluating public perceptions of potential FDA regulations such as lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes.


Honors and Awards

1995                Fellow, American Psychological Association

1995                Fellow, Society of Behavioral Medicine

1998                Distinguished Scientist Award, Society of  Behavioral Medicine

2005                Fellow, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research

2005                Book of the Year Award: Tobacco Dependence Treatment Handbook. American Journal of Nursing

2006                Outstanding Research Mentor Award, Society of Behavioral Medicine

2006                Distinguished Service Award, Society of Behavioral Medicine

2006                The Musiker-Miranda Distinguished Service Award, American Psychological Association

2007                Distinguished Alumni Award: Rutgers University, The Graduate School, New Brunswick, NJ

2008                Joseph W. Cullen Memorial Award for Tobacco Research, American Society for Preventive Oncology

  • Tobacco control, transdisicplinary, addiction, regulatory science, nicotine, implementation science, policy, health psychology, behavioral medicine, prevention, cancer, self control social learning, ecological model, systems science, modeling, system dynamics.