J. Lee Westmaas, PhD

Strategic Director of Tobacco Control Research, Behavioral Research Center

J. Lee Westmaas, PhD, joined the Behavioral Research Center in 2007 and is the strategic director of tobacco control research at the American Cancer Society. Dr. Westmaas uses a social ecological framework to conduct research on factors that influence smokers’ motivation to quit and their success in quitting. Factors include social/interpersonal (e.g., social support), psychological (e.g., depression, personality, gender), biological (e.g., genetic polymorphisms, physiological stress), and environmental (e.g., smoke-free laws, tobacco warning messages) influences. Goals of his research are to (i) enhance the efficacy of smoking cessation interventions, (ii) improve their reach among populations that are vulnerable to initiating tobacco use and/or have difficulty quitting (e.g., lower socioeconomic status, cancer survivors, LGBT individuals), and (iii) inform ACS programs, practices, and policies relevant to tobacco use and cessation. He is particularly interested in using digital technology (e.g., smartphones, email, Internet) to achieve the first two goals.

Dr. Westmaas received his Master’s degree in social ecology, and a Doctorate in Health Psychology from the University of California, Irvine. He completed postdoctoral training at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto) and the Tobacco Research and Intervention Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida (Tampa). Dr. Westmaas also holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the Behavioral Sciences and Health Education Department of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.