Director for Population Sciences John P. Pierce

Associate Director of Cancer and Prevention John P. Pierce

John P. Pierce, PhD
Director for Population Sciences

Distinguished Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health

John P. Pierce, PhD, was the first to document the role of statewide tobacco control programs in changing social norms and reducing smoking behavior. He demonstrated that the California campaign was associated with a major reduction in lung cancer. His 1992 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) paper on secondhand smoke exposure led to the first statewide law requiring smoke-free workplaces in California. In 1991, his was one of three papers in JAMA exposing the role of the Joe Camel advertising campaign in encouraging teens to smoke. Over the next decade, he introduced new measures of smoking initiation and receptivity to marketing and demonstrated the role of marketing in teen smoking. His research has been cited as a major reason for the marketing restrictions in the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the state Attorney’s General and the Tobacco Industry.

Dr. Pierce also led the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study which randomized more than 3,000 women in a study of the role of a plant-based dietary pattern on breast cancer recurrence. This study had a very high compliance to the dietary pattern and followed up 96 percent of participants, however, no dietary effect was observed. This study collected serial biological specimens (tissue and blood) on all participants and this biorepository has been used in a number of studies focused on mechanisms of recurrence.

Today, Dr. Pierce is Moores Cancer Center Director for Population Sciences and co-leader of the Cancer Prevention program. He is also director of the doctoral program in public health, a joint program with San Diego State University. He is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and the Society for Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Pierce received his BSc from Monash University in Australia, an MSc from McMaster University in Canada and an MA and PhD from Stanford University. He has been honored for his work on tobacco by three separate professional societies including a lifetime achievement award from the joint Epidemiological Societies of North America.

Contact information:

John P. Pierce, PhD

Executive assistant: Eliza Jeong
Phone: 858-822-2380