Public health professor earns two grants for tobacco research

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UNT Dallas

Dr. William Garner, UNT Dallas Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Public Health, is on quite a roll, earning separate research grants in back-to-back months.

On Thursday, August 13, he was announced as one of five researchers to receive the 2020 Pilot Research Award from the Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program (GMaP) Region 3 at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center. The GMaP Pilot Research Award provides micro-funding for researchers to help them generate feasibility data for more extensive research projects focused on cancer and cancer-related health disparities.

Last month, he was one of two researchers to receive the 2020 Pilot Project Awards from the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (CSTP) at Virginia Commonwealth University. The CTSP Pilot Project Award brings together experienced tobacco regulatory science investigators with investigators new to the field.

“Tobacco product use remains a leading cause of preventable death, disease and disability, especially among Black and Latinx communities—the very communities facing disproportionality with COVID-19," Garner said. "I am humbled by these research awards that will help to support what we are doing to ensure that Public Health graduates at UNT Dallas are equipped with career-ready skills in data analytics that are so critical to solving today's public health challenges.”

For the GMaP project, Garner will mentor student researchers on how to use publicly available data to investigate tobacco marketing policies and practices. Additionally, students will learn how to generate regulatory science data by studying how experimental exposure to tobacco marketing effects demand for and use of tobacco/nicotine products in a randomized sample.

For the CSTP project, Garner will mentor student researchers in mixed methods research. This research will generate data on the effects of age-verification on the demand for and use of tobacco/nicotine products in a randomized sample. This study will also generate data on observed retailer tobacco marketing practices and attitudes about tobacco/nicotine products. This research is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.

Last year, Dr. Garner and his student researchers co-published an article on the effects of pro-tobacco marketing on the use of dual-use tobacco products (electronic and combustible cigarettes) in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

UNT Dallas students interested in learning more about the Public Health major, or if you are interested in learning more about these mentored research opportunities in Public Health, please send an email to William.Garner@untdallas.edu.