Valerie Yerger, MA, ND

Associate Professor
Social Behavioral Sciences
+1 415 476-2784

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 Associate Professor in Health Policy 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. 


The Association of Menthol Cigarette Use With Quit Attempts, Successful Cessation, and Intention to Quit Across Racial/Ethnic Groups in the United States.

Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

Keeler C, Max W, Yerger V, Yao T, Ong MK, Sung HY

Responsiveness to cigarette prices by different racial/ethnic groups of US adults.

Tobacco control

Yao T, Ong MK, Max W, Keeler C, Wang Y, Yerger VB, Sung HY

Smoking cessation among transit workers: beliefs and perceptions among an at-risk occupational group.

Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy

Battle RS, Cunradi CB, Moore RS, Yerger VB

"A breath of fresh air worth spreading": media coverage of retailer abandonment of tobacco sales.

American journal of public health

McDaniel PA, Offen N, Yerger VB, Malone RE

Being part of something: transformative outcomes of a community-based participatory study.

Health promotion practice

Malone RE, McGruder C, Froelicher ES, Yerger VB

Quid pro quo: tobacco companies and the black press.

American journal of public health

McCandless PM, Yerger VB, Malone RE

Tobacco documents research methodology.

Tobacco control

Anderson SJ, McCandless PM, Klausner K, Taketa R, Yerger VB

Tobacco industry knowledge of the role of menthol in chemosensory perception of tobacco smoke.

Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

Kreslake JM, Yerger VB

Combining community participatory research with a randomized clinical trial: the Protecting the Hood Against Tobacco (PHAT) smoking cessation study.

Heart & lung : the journal of critical care

Froelicher ES, Doolan D, Yerger VB, McGruder CO, Malone RE

Link between facultative melanin and tobacco use among African Americans.

Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior

King G, Yerger VB, Whembolua GL, Bendel RB, Kittles R, Moolchan ET

Nicotine replacement therapy: perceptions of African-American smokers seeking to quit.

Journal of the National Medical Association

Yerger VB, Wertz M, McGruder C, Froelicher ES, Malone RE

Racialized geography, corporate activity, and health disparities: tobacco industry targeting of inner cities.

Journal of health care for the poor and underserved

Yerger VB, Przewoznik J, Malone RE

Melanin and nicotine: A review of the literature.

Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

Yerger VB, Malone RE

Taking it to the streets: responses of African American young adults to internal tobacco industry documents.

Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

Yerger VB, Daniel MR, Malone RE

When is a cigar not a cigar? African American youths' understanding of "cigar" use.

American journal of public health

Yerger V, Pearson C, Malone RE

Cigar risk perceptions in focus groups of urban African American youth.

Journal of substance abuse

Malone RE, Yerger V, Pearson C