PRCHN seminar: “Digital Interventions and African-American Tobacco Smokers: Culturally Specific Enhancements”

The next Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN) seminar will focus on digital interventions and African-American tobacco smokers.

Photo of Monica Webb Hooper

Monica Webb Hooper, director of the Office of Cancer Disparities Research at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, will present “Digital Interventions and African-American Tobacco Smokers: Culturally Specific Enhancements.”

Her talk will be held Wednesday, March 13, from noon to 1 p.m. in BioEnterprise Building, Room B-03 (PRCHN Meeting Room).

About the talk

African-American tobacco users have greater difficulty quitting compared to whites, in part due to culturally specific factors (e.g., minority stress, targeted marketing, menthol cigarette use). Face-to-face interventions are the foundation of tobacco cessation treatments, are preferred among African-Americans, and yield the highest effect sizes. However, the pursuit of widespread intervention reach has facilitated a move toward digitizing health behavior change interventions. In doing so, it is important to avoid unintended consequence, such as widening cessation disparities. Populations disadvantaged by racial/ethnic minority status and lower education have historically had less internet access—one-third of Cleveland households currently lack stable internet access at home (i.e., the digital divide).

Given the high concentration of tobacco users in underserved populations, this presentation will focus on the selection, enrollment and uptake of web-based cessation services across U.S. racial/ethnic groups.

Webb Hooper and her lab’s research has found that compared to whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native-Americans, and “others” were significantly less likely to request and enroll in a web-based tobacco cessation program available at the population level. In addition, African-American web-coaching enrollees were less likely to use the program.

Webb Hooper’s group is focused on addressing barriers that prevent low-income African-Americans from accessing culturally specific, evidence-based smoking cessation assistance, and the application of appropriate technology to increase reach. This presentation will describe findings from an ongoing semi-pragmatic randomized controlled trial and a recently completed pilot trial demonstrating the role of cultural specificity in increasing engagement in digitally based tobacco-cessation interventions, which include online and mobile health, respectively.

Overall, Webb Hooper’s research suggests a digital divide and digital inequities remain in digital tobacco cessation services. Research designed to understand the observed differences is needed. Findings have implications for the development and implementation of culturally specific digital-based tobacco interventions for racial/ethnic minority communities.

About the speaker

Monica Webb Hooper is director of the Office of Cancer Disparities Research at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She also is professor of oncology, family medicine and community health, and psychological sciences.

Webb Hooper is a clinical health psychologist whose research interests are in chronic illness prevention and cancer risk behaviors, with an emphasis on minority health and racial/ethnic disparities. Her work focuses on mind-body relationships and the psychological factors that influence health. Much of her research focuses on tobacco use and weight management and interventions, the development of culturally specific approaches, and understanding relationships between cessation and race/ethnicity, cultural variables, modifiable risk factors, and the biological stress response.

Webb Hooper has received international recognition for her contributions to nicotine and tobacco research and is a leader in the field of cancer health disparities. Her research goal is to make a significant public health impact by reducing the prevalence of cancer and cancer health disparities in high-risk populations. Her long-term goal is to help eliminate disparities in tobacco-attributable illnesses.

Webb Hooper’s research has been funded with more than $12 million by the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and the Florida Department of Health James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program.

About the series

The PRCHN Monthly Seminar Series takes place on the second Wednesday of the month from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the BioEnterprise Building, Room B-03 (unless otherwise noted).

The public is welcome to attend, and a light lunch is served.

Learn more about the series and view a list of upcoming talks.