Jennifer B. Unger, PhD
University of Southern California
Keck School of Medicine
2020 Research Laureate
Dr. Unger was to be presented this award during the Opening Welcome Address at the 2020 AAHB Annual Meeting in Napa Valley, California on March 8, 2020. Due to the pandemic and cancellation of the Annual Meeting in Napa, CA, Dr. Unger was recognized at the Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting in March, 2021.
Jennifer B. Unger, Ph.D. is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the psychological, social, and cultural influences on health-risk and health-protective behaviors including tobacco and cannabis use. She and her colleagues have conducted several longitudinal studies of acculturation and substance use among Hispanic adolescents, highlighting the role of discrimination in health-risk behaviors.
Her research also has examined cultural influences on tobacco use among American Indian adolescents, Chinese adolescents, and African American adults. She is currently conducting a study of the association between proximity to cannabis retailers and cannabis use among adolescents. She is interested in entertainment-education strategies for health education among low-literacy minority populations and has collaborated on the design and evaluation of fotonovelas and telenovelas about secondhand smoke exposure in multiunit housing; diabetes; asthma; immunization; and kidney transplantation.
She is a co-investigator in the USC Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS), where she studies diffusion of messages about emerging tobacco products to vulnerable populations through social media. Dr. Unger directs the Ph.D. program in Preventive Medicine / Health Behavior Research. She is an Associate Editor for Substance Use and Misuse and Tobacco Regulatory Science.