Jo Anne Earp Distinguished Professor in Health Behavior
Co-Leader, UNC Lineberger Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program
Co-Director, Cancer Control Education Program
Chair and Professor, Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Cancer Prevention and Control
Area of Interest
Kurt M. Ribisl, PhD, is the Jo Anne Earp Distinguished Professor in Health Behavior and chair in the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also the Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Ribisl’s primary research interest is population-level efforts to reduce tobacco use, with a particular emphasis on regulating the sales and marketing of tobacco products at retail outlets. He has researched tobacco product marketing, pricing, promotions, and youth access, as well as how to regulate e-cigarettes at the local, state, and federal level. He has evaluated the impact of local, state, federal (e.g., Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act), and global policies related to the sales and marketing of tobacco products. Ribisl is the principal investigator of the $19.4M Center for Regulatory Research in Tobacco Communication funded by the NIH Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) program (RFA-DA-13-003). He is also a multi-principal investigator (with Drs. Lisa Henriksen and Doug Luke) of the NCI-funded grant “Advancing Science and Practice in the Retail Environment” (P01CA225597), which will build the scientific evidence-base for effective tobacco control retail policies and enhance policy implementation in communities, to reduce the public health burden of tobacco use, as well as help eliminate tobacco-related disparities. In addition, Ribisl is a multi-principal investigator (with Dr. Melissa Troester) of the NCI-funded Cancer Control Education Program (T32 CA057726), which trains pre- and postdoctoral fellows for careers as independent investigators in interdisciplinary and collaborative cancer prevention and control research.
He received his doctorate in community psychology from Michigan State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular disease prevention and epidemiology at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine. Ribisl is the author of over 200 scientific articles, and his research has been published in journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and Tobacco Control. He is the co-founder of Counter Tobacco, a point-of-sale resource, and of the nonprofit Counter Tools, which focuses on advancing place-based public health. He recently completed a term as a member of the congressionally mandated Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the journal Tobacco Control.
Awards and Honors
- Highly Cited Researchers (Top 1%), Web of Science, Clarivate Analytics, 2022
- ASPO Cullen Award for Tobacco Control Research
- Program Leader, Cancer Prevention and Control, UNC Lineberger
- Member, Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, Center for Tobacco Products, US Food and Drug Administration
- Member, Delta Omega, Honorary Society in Public Health, theta chapter, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2003—present
News and Stories
NIH and FDA award $18.6M to UNC Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science
UNC TCORS was launched at UNC Lineberger in 2013 and provides scientific studies that inform FDA’s regulatory authority for tobacco products.
UNC Lineberger hosts White House Chief Science & Technology Advisor
The White House Chief Science and Technology Advisor Arati Prabhakar, MS, PhD, visited Chapel Hill to discuss the fight against cancer at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
UNC Lineberger faculty recognized as world’s most highly cited researchers
Twelve UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center members were named to Clarivate’s 2022 Highly Cited Researchers list.
UNC Lineberger partners with Fort Bragg to tackle tobacco use
A strategic partnership with Kurt Ribisl, PhD, and colleagues is helping the nation’s largest Army base rework its tobacco policies and take steps to improve the health of its soldiers and their families.