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Taghrid Asfar - renowned authority on tobacco control research - promoted to Associate Professor, Tenure-Earning Track

The Department of Public Health Sciences at the Univeristy of Miami Miller School of Medicine is proud to present Dr. Taghrid Asfar as Research Associate Professor of Epidemiology of Public Health Sciences effective June 1, 2022. This promotion demonstrates the high regard in which Dr. Asfar is held. In this role, Dr. Asfar aims to advance tobacco control efforts, including enhancing health communication strategies, such as health warning labels, to prevent emerging tobacco products (e.g., electronic cigarette, Hookah) usage among youth and young adults, and improve the accessibility of smoking cessation treatment to those in greatest need.

Dr. Asfar is a renowned authority on tobacco control research both nationally and internationally. Her tobacco control work has received continuous funding from the NIH since 2001, being conducted both in the U.S. and the Eastern Mediterranean Region, including Syria, Lebanon, and Tunisia. In 2018, Dr. Asfar accepted her first faculty position at the University of Miami as a Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine. During the past four years she has successfully obtained six new grants. The first to be awarded was an R01 NIH grant international proposal entitled “Translating evidence and building capacity to support waterpipe control in the Eastern Mediterranean.” The grant was funded by the Fogarty International Center of the NIH. This project aims to help Tunisia and Lebanon develop effective health warning labels for the waterpipe and equip those countries with the means to implement the warning labels successfully. The second grant was funded by James and Esther King program, Florida Department of Health in collaboration with Florida International University, the University of Memphis, and the Consortium for Tobacco-Free Miami-Dade. Dr. Asfar and her colleagues’ main objectives in this project are to develop and test health warning labels for hookah targeting young people in Florida, and provide insight to local legislators in Florida, the FDA, policymakers, and public health advocates on the potential of implementing hookah-specific health warning labels regulations.  

Dr. Taghrid Asfar              Taghrid Asfar, MD, MSPH

In 2019, Dr. Asfar was awarded the Miami Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Pilot Award with the main objective being to adapt a mindfulness-based smoking cessation smartphone app for people living with HIV. In 2019 she was also awarded the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC) Pilot Award to conduct a pilot randomized clinical trial among young cancer survivors to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and potential efficacy of a smartphone application versus an in-person mindfulness smoking cessation intervention.

Dr. Asfar received her most recent grants in 2021. The NIH R01 “Developing and testing health warning labels on the ENDS device” seeks to develop evidence-based pictorial health warnings for e-cigarettes and test them on young users. She was also awarded another grant funded by James and Esther King as a Co-investigator entitled: “Electronic nicotine delivery system-related lung vascular toxicity.” The goal of this project is to examine the effect of electronic nicotine delivery system use on endothelium-dependent vasodilatory function in the airway circulation compared with pulmonary and systemic circulations.

Dr. Asfar has been recently assigned as a delegate for Dean Ford at the University of Miami at Florida Tobacco Advisory Council. She was also appointed as Chair of the Surveillance and Evaluation Subcommittee by the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida (BTFF). In this role, she hopes to advance tobacco control efforts at the state level.

Written by Deycha Torres Hernández
Published on July 27, 2022