Photo of ANR Board Member Valerie Yerger

Valerie B. Yerger, ND is a licensed naturopathic doctor and Associate Professor in Health Policy at the University of California, San Francisco. The overarching goal of Dr. Yerger’s work is to frame the disproportionate burden of tobacco among marginalized communities as a social injustice and to inform public health policies so they effectively reach these communities. Her research of previously secret tobacco documents uncovered the tobacco industry’s relationship with African American leadership groups, the accumulation of nicotine in tissues containing melanin, the disproportionate marketing of menthol cigarettes in inner-city communities, and tobacco companies’ in-house research on menthol. Dr. Yerger was funded by the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program to examine potential challenges of implementing a citywide smokefree multiunit housing ordinance in a diverse urban city. Currently, Dr. Yerger oversees The LOOP, a statewide project funded by the California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) to provide trainings and technical assistance to other CTCP-funded projects. Dr. Yerger is the core leader for the San Francisco Cancer Initiative (SF-CAN) menthol project, which initiated the community-based work that paved the way for San Francisco’s menthol/flavor ban. Dr. Yerger has provided expert testimony to the FDA on the use of menthol as an additive in cigarettes. She is a past recipient of the Truth Initiative’s Sybil G. Jacobs Award for Outstanding Use of Tobacco Industry Documents, a former Health Disparities Scholar of the National Institutes of Health, and the 2017 recipient of CTCP’s Carol M. Russell Award for Leadership and Vision in Tobacco Control. In addition to serving on the board of ANR/ANRF, Dr. Yerger is also a board member of NAATPN, Inc., a founding member of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), and an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.