Our Goal: Evidence-Based Research

The Tobacco Research Team

The goals of the Tobacco Research and Evaluation Team at The University of Texas at Austin are to conduct research on youth and young adult tobacco use, and develop effective tobacco prevention programs and intervention tools that are easily accessible for various populations. The team is involved in three broad categories of initiatives on tobacco prevention and control: Research, Community Coalition and College Initiatives, and Healthcare Systems Change Initiatives.

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Our Team

Alexandra Loukas

Alexandra Loukas, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Alex is a Professor and Program Director of Health Behavior and Health Education in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on adolescent and young adult health, particularly adolescent aggression and tobacco use and cessation in disparate populations. Alex has a special interest in examining how factors from multiple ecological levels (e.g., family, school, culture) interact to protect adolescents and young adults from negative health outcomes. In addition to the projects described on the website, she has served as Principal Investigator on studies funded by the National Cancer Institute to examine the associations between stress, depressive symptoms and tobacco use in vocational school students and to test the feasibility of a web-based smoking cessation program for this population.

Research and Publications

Shelley Karn

Shelley Karn, Ed.D.

Program Director

Shelley is the Project Director for the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team with the University of Texas at Austin, Kinesiology and Health Education Department. The projects include community coalition evaluation as well as clinical interventions for systems change for tobacco cessation. Shelley also directs the development and implementation for a statewide college initiative focused on reducing life-long initiation for tobacco use. She has more than 15 years of experience in prevention initiatives including tobacco cessation, cancer control initiatives, comprehensive pregnancy prevention programs, nutrition education, and school health projects. Shelley is a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist and works to incorporate simple solutions to adhere to the requirements of the new reform policy.

Sherman Chow

Sherman Chow M.P.H., M.A

Senior Research Coordinator

Sherman is a project manager at the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team. He provides management and administrative support across all team projects. From 2014-2019, he coordinated the Project M-PACT study, a rapid response surveillance study funded by the Food and Drug Administration/National Cancer Institute. Before joining the team in 2014, Sherman coordinated numerous research studies on childhood obesity with elementary and middle school-aged children in Central Texas. Sherman specializes in qualitative methods and mixed-methods research.

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Tres Hinds Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Tres is a Postdoctotoral Fellow in Health Behavior and Health Education with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team. She received her M.S. in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Texas and her B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point. It was through her service in the Army that Tres became interested in tobacco use among young adults and other lifestyle factors that affect health outcomes. Her interests include camping, weight lifting, and exploring Austin by bicycle.

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Lara Latimer, Ph.D.

Senior Research Coordinator/Lecturer

Lara is the Senior Research Coordinator on the College Tobacco Initiative with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team at the University of Texas at Austin. Lara also teaches an undergraduate course (Child & Adolescent Health) in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Health Education from The University of Texas at Austin, and her B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. Lara has experience with tobacco surveillance and prevention, and other health behaviors (e.g., those related to mental health, stress reduction, and health behavior change) among college students.

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Xiaoyin Li, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Shelly is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Health Behavior and Health Education with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team. She received her Ph.D. in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Prior to her current position, she worked as a postdoctoral research associate for an NIAAA funded grant examining the effectiveness of alcohol interventions among college students. Her research experience and interests span two broad areas: (a) understanding the determinants of the development of tobacco and substance use and related health outcomes among youth and young adults, and (b) utilizing novel statistical methods and translating innovation into health risk behavior research.

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Ann Marie Newman, B.A.

Senior Outreach Coordinator

Ann Marie is a Sr. Outreach Coordinator with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team at the University of Texas at Austin. Her primary focus is to coordinate with health care systems across Texas in implementing the electronic tobacco cessation referral tool (eTobacco Protocol). Her responsibilities include community outreach in English and Spanish, training and demonstrating the value of the eTobacco Protocol, working with electronic medical records companies, and collaborating with other statewide entities with an interest in tobacco cessation. Ann Marie’s background is in diversity and inclusion that includes work experience with the Cancer Prevention Study-3, international non-profit organizations, and legal aid.

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Caroline North, MA

Doctoral Student

Caroline is a doctoral student in Health Behavior and Health Education and a Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Alexandra Loukas. She received both her B.S. and M.A. degrees in Psychological Sciences from Northern Arizona University. Caroline’s area of research broadly focuses on identifying the determinants (e.g., emotional factors) of substance use, specifically use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), among youth and young adults. She is also interested in identifying the factors that contribute to the progression from experimental use to regular sustained use of ENDS.

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Trina Robertson, M.A.

Senior Outreach Coordinator

Trina is a Sr. Outreach Coordinator across projects for the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team. She has worked in a variety of research and evaluation programs focused on health promotion and educational projects since 1991, including tobacco control, breast cancer screening outreach, health disparities, comprehensive cancer control, school-based pregnancy and parenting education, literacy, and violence prevention programs. Much of her work has involved coordinating collaboration projects between educational institutions, social service agencies, with state and/or federal agencies.

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Daniele White, B.S.

Outreach Coordinator

Daniele is the Outreach Coordinator on the College Tobacco Initiative (Peers Against Tobacco) with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to becoming the Outreach Coodinator she worked as an undergraduate research assistant for Peers Against Tobacco. Daniele received her B.S. in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science and is planning on pursuing an M.S. in social work. Her goal is to provide mental health and substance abuse counseling to incarcerated individuals.

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