- FAMRI Center
Valerie Yerger, ND
Assistant Adjunct Professor
Dr. Yerger's research focuses on the tobacco industry’s targeting of African American communities, the use of menthol in tobacco products, smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing. Dr. Valerie Yerger is a licensed naturopathic doctor and assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. She received her doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University, who honored her as one of its Distinguished Alumni when the award was first presented in 2004. Since 2003, the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health has recognized Dr. Yerger as one of its health disparities scholars. Dr. Yerger’s research focuses on the tobacco industry’s targeting of African American community. She has incorporated tobacco industry documents into community-based participatory research projects on tobacco cessation and initiated the investigation of melanin’s potential role in nicotine exposure, nicotine addiction, and smoking behavior. Currently, Dr. Yerger is investigating ways African Americans may increase their ability to quit smoking and remain tobacco-free by reframing tobacco as a social justice issue that affects the entire community. 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’ predatory marketing of menthol cigarettes in inner-city communities. Her work has been featured in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research; American Journal of Public Health; Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior; Journal of the National Medical Association; Tobacco Control; and Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. In 2009 Dr. Yerger was appointed by California Speaker of Assembly Karen Bass to serve on the California Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee (TEROC); and in 2010 was invited to serve in the Circle of Elders of the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network. She is also a founding member of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council of California. In 2010 Dr. Yerger was invited by the Food and Drug Administration to search the Legacy tobacco documents archives for tobacco industry research on menthol cigarettes and present findings in white paper for members of the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. The TPSA will be instrumental in determining the fate of menthol use in cigarettes.
University of California, Berkeley, 1978-1981, B.S., Conservation of Natural Resources
John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, CA, 1983-1985, M.A., Clinical Holistic Health Education
Bastyr University, Seattle, WA, 1988-1992, N.D. (Doctorate), Naturopathic Medicine
Yerger, V., Pearson, C., & Malone, R.E. (2001). When is a cigar not a cigar? African American youths’ understanding of “cigar” use. American Journal of Public Health,91(2), 316-317.
Malone, R.E., Yerger V., & Pearson, C. (2001). Cigar risk perceptions in focus groups of urban African American youth. Journal of Substance Abuse, 13(4), 549-561.
Yerger, V.B. & Malone, R.E. (2002). African American leadership groups: Smoking with the enemy. Tobacco Control, 11(4), 336-345.
Yerger, V.B., Daniel, M.R., & Malone, R.E. (2005). Taking it to the streets: African American young adults respond to internal tobacco industry documents about targeting. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 7(1), 163-172.
Yerger, V.B. & Malone, R.E. (2006). Melanin and nicotine: A review of the literature. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 8(4), 487-498.
Malone, R.E., Yerger, V.B., McGruder, C.O., & Froelicher, E. (2006). “It’s like Tuskegee in reverse”: A case study of ethical tensions in Institutional Review Board review of community-based participatory research. American Journal of Public Health, 96(11), 1914-1919.
Yerger, V.B., Przewoznik, J., & Malone, R.E. (2007). Racialized geography, corporate activity, and health disparities: Tobacco industry targeting of lower income inner city residents. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 18(S4), 10-38.
Yerger, V.B., Wertz, M. McGruder, C.O., Froelicher, E., & Malone, R.E. (2008). Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Perceptions of African American smokers seeking to quit. Journal of the National Medical Association, 100(2), 230-236.
King, G., Yerger, V.B., Whembolua, G-L., Bendel, R.B., Kittles, R., & Moolchan, E.T. (2009). Link between facultative melanin and tobacco use among African Americans. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 92 (2009) 589-596.
Froelicher, E. S., Doolan, D., Yerger, V. B., McGruder, C. O., & Malone, R. E. (2010). Combining community participatory research with a randomized clinical trial: the protecting the hood against tobacco (PHAT) smoking cessation study. Heart Lung, 39(1), 50-63.
Yerger, V.B.(2010). Menthol’s potential effects on nicotine dependence: A white paper. UC San Francisco: Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.
Yerger, V.B.,McCandless, P.M. (2010). Menthol sensory qualities and possible effects on topography: A white paper. UC San Francisco: Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.
Kreslake, J.M., Yerger, V.B. (2010). Tobacco industry knowledge of the role of menthol in chemosensory perception of tobacco smoke. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 12: S98-S101.
Yerger, V.B. (2011) Menthol’s potential effects on nicotine dependence: A tobacco industry perspective. Tobacco Control, 20 Suppl 2:ii29-36.
Yerger, V.B., McCandless, P.M. (2011). Menthol sensory qualities and smoking topography: A review of tobacco industry documents. Tobacco Control, 20 Suppl 2:ii37-43.
Anderson, S.J., McCandless, P.M., Klausner, K., Taketa, R.M., Yerger, V.B. (2011). Tobacco documents research methodology. Tobacco Control, 20 Suppl 2:ii8-11.
McCandless, P.M., Yerger, V.B. & Malone, R.E. (2011). Quid Pro Quo: Tobacco Companies and the Black Press. American Journal of Public Health.