Menthol: Science, Policy, and Advocacy

90 Minutes

David B. Abrams, PhD

Dr. David Abrams is Executive Director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Legacy® and Professor, Department of Health, Behavior and Society in The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to that he directed the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health. He was Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Community Health at Brown University Alpert Medical School and founding Director of the Transdisciplinary Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Abrams is a clinical psychologist specializing in health psychology, addictions and tobacco use behavior. His focus is to foster transdisciplinary science and the systems integration of bio‐medical, socio‐behavioral and ecological‐public health models to reduce tobacco use behavior at the population level. He has published over 250 scholarly articles and has been a Principal or Co‐Investigator on 65 grants, including a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Program Project award for a Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC). Dr. Abrams is lead author of The Tobacco Dependence Treatment Handbook: A Guide to Best Practices, a recipient of a book of the year award. He was a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors of the NCI, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Transdisciplinary Tobacco Etiology Research Network, and served on Institute of Medicine expert committees on Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation and on Obesity. Dr. Abrams received the Cullen Memorial Award from the American Society for Preventive Oncology for lifetime contributions to tobacco control. He was President of the Society for Behavioral Medicine and a recipient of their Distinguished Scientist and Mentorship awards. Dr. Abrams holds a B.Sc. (honours) in computer science and psychology from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University.

Amber E. Bullock, MPH, CHES

Amber E. Bullock is Executive Vice President, Program Development, for Legacy. Mrs. Bullock is a seasoned public health administrator and educator, with more than 30 years’ of experience working with various health professionals, researchers, clinicians, community-based organizations, and consumer groups on a range of behavioral risk factor public health issues.

Mrs. Bullock provides oversight and direction for the Foundation’s community technical assistance and training programs, priority population initiatives, youth activism programs, Legacy’s Partnership for Healthier Communities Initiative as well as grant and program dissemination tools and resources. Her special areas of expertise include tobacco related health equity programming, community capacity building and sustainability issues. During 2011 Mrs. Bullock served as guest co-editor of a special supplement of Health Promotion Practice which focuses on training and technical assistance lessons learned to sustain social norm issues in tobacco control.

Prior to joining Legacy, she served as Prospect Associates Ltd.’s Vice President of Public and Community Health Promotion and also as Director of the Coordinating Center for the National Cancer Institute’s American Stop Smoking Intervention Study (ASSIST) initiative. Over the course of her career she has provided technical assistance and training and managerial direction on a diverse range of public health and social justice issues including
women’s health, cardiovascular risk factors, multicultural competency, reproductive health, tobacco prevention, cessation programming and advocacy, youth/young adult health promotion, and HIV/AIDS. She previously served as Director of Education and Research for the American College Health Association, and worked early in her professional career for the American Heart Association, where she developed and managed a wide range of research administration, consumer health promotion, and professional education programs.

Mrs. Bullock received her public health master’s degree in community health education from San Jose State University, and her undergraduate degree in human development at California State University, Hayward. She is a chartered certified health education specialist as designated by The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.

Karen Martin

Karen Martin is Senior Director, Collaboration and Outreach at Legacy. She manages Legacy’s stakeholder relations. She has worked in international and domestic philanthropy with a focus on public health for over 17 years. Prior to joining Legacy in 2001, Karen served as head grants administrator for the 3 Open Society Institute in Russia and grant director for Miami Dade College Medical Center Campus. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University.

Ellen Vargyas, JD

Ellen Vargyas has long pursued a career dedicated to the practice of law in the public interest. Before joining Legacy
as general counsel, she served as legal counsel to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC). At EEOC, she directed the commission's regulatory and policy program under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act. She was also the commission's in-house counsel.

Additionally, Ms. Vargyas has served as senior counsel for employment and education at the National Women's Law
Center in Washington, D.C, where she handled precedent-setting Title IX litigation that opened opportunities for women in athletics in educational institutions and developed the law prohibiting sexual harassment. She was also actively involved in the passage of major legislation that redefined and expanded existing legal protections against discrimination in employment. Ms. Vargyas is published on legal issues of concern to women and has spoken widely on the topic. She also directed the Access to Justice Project at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. She began her career as an attorney with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia where she provided legal  representation to low-income clients.

Ms. Vargyas is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Webinar Objectives
  • Learn the science behind the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee's (TPSAC) recommendation to the FDA that "removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States."
  • Learn about policies already in place and under development that address concerns about menthol.
  • Understand the impact of these policies on tobacco control.
  • Discuss key messages about the needs of tobacco dependent treatment for disparate populations.