TAMPA, Fla. — Vani Simmons, Ph.D., co-director of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Tobacco Research and Intervention Program, is this year’s recipient of the American Society of Preventive Oncology’s Joseph W. Cullen Memorial Award. The award will be presented during the ASPO 47th Annual Meeting, March 12-14, in San Diego.

This prestigious award recognizes distinguished achievement in continued national tobacco control efforts through research, the development of prevention and cessation programs with wide-reaching public health impact, or public policy and advocacy initiatives. It also honors individuals whose leadership fosters collaboration among basic and behavioral scientists, health care professionals and public health advocates involved in the fight against tobacco and tobacco-related disease.

Simmons, who joined Moffitt in 2008, has focused her career on reducing health disparities by developing and validating innovative, participant-centered smoking cessation interventions. Her studies have included populations at high risk for tobacco-related disparities yet are underrepresented in research. She has also created carefully researched, theory-based smoking-relapse prevention interventions for cancer patients, studied electronic cigarette use and is working to understand the barriers to low-dose computed tomography as a screening tool for high-risk smokers.

“Dr. Simmons has dedicated the past 24 years almost exclusively to tobacco control research, focusing primarily on aiding populations that have largely been ignored in traditional research yet suffer disproportionately from the consequences of tobacco use. Her research, professional and training contributions clearly merit recognition,” said Thomas Brandon, Ph.D., director of Moffitt’s Tobacco Research and Intervention Program.

The Joseph W. Cullen Memorial Award was established in 1992 to honor Cullen, who served as program coordinator for the National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Tobacco and Cancer Program from 1982 to 1989. He was the architect of the world’s largest tobacco intervention and control program. Simmons is one of 32 scientists to receive the award.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 53 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 7,800 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.4 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube