Taghrid Asfar

Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences

Phone:
(305) 243-3826
Locator Code:
R669

 
About

Field of Interest: Tobacco Policies & Regulations

Taghrid Asfar is an Associate Professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, and a full member at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also a member of the founding team of the Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies (http://www.scts-sy.org/), a pioneer research and capacity-building institution in the Middle East. Dr. Asfar has extensive experience in tobacco control research nationally and internationally, including epidemiological studies of tobacco use, randomized clinical trials of behavioral smoking cessation interventions, and tobacco policies and regulations. She has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific reports in prestigious journals (e.g. Cochrane review, Tobacco Control, and Addiction). Her focus has been on preventing emerging tobacco products use (e.g., electronic-cigarettes, hookah) among youth and young adults by advancing health risk communication strategies (e.g., health warning labels). A second line of research includes improving smoking cessation treatment among socially disadvantaged and high-risk populations (i.e., low-income adults, ethnic minorities, HIV patients, cancer survivors).

In the area of health communication and tobacco regulatory, Dr. Asfar currently is leading three innovative research projects. The first research project entitled: “Developing and Testing Waterpipe-specific Health Warning Labels Targeting Young People in Florida,” is funded by the Florida Department of Health, James & Esther King Biomedical Research Program (20K10). This project aims to develop and test pictorial health warning labels for hookah, with focus on young adults in Florida. The second research project entitled: “Developing and Testing Health Warning Labels on the ENDS Device” is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) (1R01DA051836). It aims to develop evidence-based pictorial health warning labels for electronic cigarettes. The third project is an international project entitled: “Translating Evidence and Building Capacity to Support Waterpipe Control in the Eastern Mediterranean.” This project will help Tunisia and Lebanon develop effective health warning labels for the waterpipe and equip them with the means to implement them successfully (Dr. Asfar’s lab: https://www.publichealth.med.miami.edu/research/research-labs/hookah-and-e-cigarettes-health-communication-group/index.html).

In the area of smoking cessation, Dr. Asfar research currently is focused on three high-risk populations including Hispanic construction workers, HIV patients, and cancer survivors. Along with her team, Dr. Asfar developed a culturally adapted worksite smoking cessation intervention for Hispanic construction workers. Dr. Asfar also is developing and testing a mindfulness-based smoking cessation smartphone application for people living with HIV. In another pilot randomized clinical trial, and in collaboration with researchers at St. Jude Children Research Hospital, Dr. Asfar is testing the feasibility, acceptability, and potential efficacy of a smartphone application versus an in-person mindfulness smoking cessation intervention among young cancer survivors.

Dr. Asfar is also collaborating with researchers at the University of Miami to examine the effect of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) use on endothelium-dependent vasodilatory function in the airway circulation compared with pulmonary and systemic circulations (21K13; Florida Department of Health, James & Esther King Biomedical Research Program).