PRC Seminar: "Mixed Methods Research to Increase Smoking Cessation in African Americans who Use Tobacco"

Sophia I. Allen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine

  • Tuesday December 6, 2022 from 12:00 pm–1:00 pm
  • Via Zoom
Sophia Allen headshot

Sophia Allen, Ph.D.

Zoom link: https://psu.zoom.us/j/99586918125

Cigarettes are used by over 34 million U.S. adults and cause more than 480,000 deaths annually due to smoking and smoke exposure. Despite smoking at similar rates and consuming less cigarettes per day, African Americans are more likely to die from several tobacco-caused cancers as compared to White people. 

Despite making more quit attempts, several studies consistently find African Americans are less likely to remain abstinent from smoking long-term.  The investigation of scalable, innovative, evidence-based strategies to increase smoking cessation among African Americans and doing so by addressing social determinants of health (SDoH) is the focus of this research.

This project will assess data from the Pennsylvania Quitline, conduct qualitative inquiry, and perform a pilot study using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to inform a tailored mobile health (mHealth) smoking cessation intervention. The central hypothesis is that SDoH will explain differences in smoking abstinence between African American and White smokers using technology as a cessation aid.

This research focuses on improving the impact of mHealth technology among African American smokers using Pennsylvania’s Quitline services, and this project has implications for how smoking cessation interventions are designed with the potential to reduce disparities in tobacco-caused diseases.

About the Presenter

Sophia Allen received her Ph.D. in Public Health from Walden University. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine. Dr. Allen’s research interests focus on substance use (nicotine) and addiction among African Americans who smoke and improving the impact of mobile health (mHealth) technology on smoking cessation interventions to reduce health disparities. 

Dr. Allen’s postdoctoral training included the coordination of clinical trials to investigate the health effects of a nicotine reduction standard in cigarettes among those with mood and anxiety disorders. She has also investigated the health and behavioral effects of adult smokers switching to novel tobacco products (e.g., e-cigarettes and nicotine film). 

Dr. Allen is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health K award and plans to develop and implement tailored mHealth smoking cessation interventions by using dynamic real-time assessments of behavior, experiences, and environmental factors.