Valerie Yerger, ND

Social Behavioral Sciences
+1 415 476-2784

Valerie B. Yerger, ND is a licensed naturopathic doctor and Associate Professor in Health Policy at the University of California, San Francisco. She is a former Health Disparities Scholar of the National Institutes of Health. The overarching goal of Dr. Yerger’s work is to frame the disproportionate burden of tobacco among marginalized communities as a social injustice and to inform public health policies so they effectively reach and engage these communities. Her research of previously secret tobacco documents uncovered the tobacco industry’s relationship with African American leadership groups, the accumulation of nicotine in tissues containing melanin, the disproportionate marketing of menthol cigarettes in inner-city communities, and tobacco companies’ in-house research on the use of menthol as an additive in cigarettes. Dr. Yerger provided expert testimony to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee on the use of menthol as an additive in cigarettes. Dr. Yerger has been a key expert involved in many local educational and advocacy efforts to restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. She has also examined potential challenges of implementing a citywide smokefree multiunit housing ordinance in a diverse urban city. Currently, Dr. Yerger oversees a statewide project, “The LOOP,” funded by the California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP). The LOOP provides trainings and “tailored assistance” to other CTCP-funded projects to help them connect, communicate, and collaborate with the state’s underserved populations. Dr. Yerger has served on the California Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee (TEROC). She is also a founding member of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council. Dr. Yerger is the past recipient of numerous awards, including the Truth Initiative’s Sybil G. Jacobs Award for Outstanding Use of Tobacco Industry Documents, CTCP’s Carol M. Russell Award for Leadership and Vision in Tobacco Control, and the 2018 UCSF Chancellor Award for Public Service. Dr. Yerger’s 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.


Recommendations to advance equity in tobacco control.

Tobacco control

Mills SD, Rosario C, Yerger VB, Kalb MD, Ribisl KM

Flavored Tobacco Product Use Among Young Adults by Race and Ethnicity: Evidence From the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study.

The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine

Watkins SL, Pieper F, Chaffee BW, Yerger VB, Ling PM, Max W

Tobacco industry: a barrier to social justice.

Tobacco control

Romeo-Stuppy K, Huber L, Toebes B, Yerger V, Senkubuge F

A qualitative assessment of the perceptions and attitudes towards commercial tobacco policies and education among tribal communities in California.

The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse

Soto C, Ramos G, Martinez D, Moerner L, Salinas E, Battle R, Yerger V


Tobacco control

Malone RE, Yerger VB

Effects of cigarette prices on intention to quit, quit attempts, and successful cessation among African American smokers.

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

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

Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Subsequent Academic Performance Among U.S. Youth.

American journal of preventive medicine

Choi K, Chen-Sankey JC, Merianos AL, McGruder C, Yerger V

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

Tanning Capacity and Nicotine Dependence Among African Americans.

Journal of the National Medical Association

King G, Moolchan ET, Bendel RB, Yerger VB

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, Work Stress, and Barriers to Participation in HMO Smoking Cessation Treatment Among Transit Workers: Focus Group Results.

Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health

Carol B. Cunradi, Roland S. Moore, Robynn S. Battle, Valerie B. Yerger

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