Dr. Kelvin Choi is a tenure-track investigator and Acting Head of the Social and Behavioral Group at the Division of Intramural Research at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Behavioral health is an important factor in population health and health disparities. A particular area of concern is tobacco use. Tobacco use remains a public health problem in the US. The 2014 Surgeon General’s report stated that tobacco use claims over 480,000 lives every year in the US. There are also significant disparities in tobacco use by demographics and socioeconomic characteristics, e.g., the prevalence of smoking in adults varies greatly by education, and the majority of smoking related diseases and deaths are among those with low education. Therefore, it is important to address tobacco use disparities as a means to reduce health disparities in the US. Dr. Choi’s research uses a marketing research perspective to better understand tobacco use and develop interventions to reduce and eliminate such disparities. Marketing research integrates social and behavioral epidemiology, economics, health communication/advertising, and consumer research, and allows the expansion of social and behavioral research from the individuals to the dynamics between all involved players (e.g., smokers, health care providers, policymakers, and tobacco companies). It also has very clear action strategies to promote social and behavioral changes.
Prior to joining the NIMHD in 2013, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Division of Epidemiology and Community Health. He received his M.P.H. in Community Health Education and Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. He was an invited attendee of the NIH Institute on Systems Science and Health 2011, Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health 2012, and National Science Foundation workshop on Fundamentals of Team Science and the Science of Team Science. He was recruited to NIMHD as an Earl Stadtman Investigator for his innovative research on marketing of health risk behaviors and health promoting behaviors, particularly using this research perspective to examine and reduce tobacco use disparities. He currently serves as the advisor committee member of the Society for Nicotine and Tobacco Research Health Disparities Network.
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