Nationally-recognized pulmonary physician, epidemiologist to discuss tobacco and health University of Southern California’s Jonathan Samet, M.D., M.S., will deliver the inaugural Woodson

    Jonathan Samet, M.D., M.S.
    Jonathan Samet, M.D., M.S.

    Delivering a talk in a state with one of the highest rates of cigarette smoking in the nation, Jonathan Samet, M.D., M.S., distinguished professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, and director of the USC Institute for Global Health, will tackle the issue of tobacco and health, explaining how solid research can drive gains in public health. He’ll also provide a historical perspective, and address concerns over efforts of the tobacco industry to diminish the impact of emerging scientific evidence.

    Samet will deliver the University of Louisville’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences inaugural Woodson Lecture on Sept. 19 at 6:30p.m. The event will be held at the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research (CTR) Building, 505 S. Hancock St., with a reception at 5:30p.m. in the same location.

    The timely topic of the talk is a reminder of Kentucky’s dismal health statistics related to tobacco, such as facing the highest rate for cancer in the United States, especially lung cancer. From 2009 through 2013, 118 men and 80 women out of every 100,000 individuals were diagnosed with lung cancer compared to 75 men and 53 women per 100,000 nationally. The death rate for lung cancer is 70 per 100,000 in Kentucky compared to 46 per 100,000 nationally. Death rates for other tobacco-related health problems such as heart disease, stroke and non-cancer chronic lung disease also are higher in Kentucky than national averages.

    Samet’s research is focused on smoking, pollution, and cancer causes and outcomes, to name a few. Throughout his career, he has maintained a commitment to using research findings to support policies that protect population health. Samet has been part of numerous committees related to the use of scientific evidence in characterizing risks and policy-making, including chairing the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC). For three decades he has authored and edited reports of the Surgeon General related to smoking and health, including serving as Senior Scientific Editor for the 50th Anniversary report in 2014. 

    A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Samet has been the recipient of many honors. In 2004, he received the Prince Mahidol Award for Global Health awarded by the King of Thailand, and the Surgeon General’s Medallion in 1990 and 2006.

    Samet is the first national public health leader to lecture in Louisville through the Woodson Lectureship Endowment established through an anonymous gift in 2014. The school plans to bring in speakers annually as part of the Woodson Lecture series.

    “Our ability to bring high profile speakers to our campus helps build the reputation of the school and speaks to the caliber of our programs,” said Craig Blakely, Ph.D., M.P.H., dean of the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences.

    The public is welcome to attend Samet’s lecture, but must reserve a seat by contacting or 502-852-6655.


    Julie Heflin
    Julie oversees digital content for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She began her UofL career on the Health Sciences Center campus in 2007. Prior to this, Julie was a journalist with WFPL (Louisville Public Media), and occasionally filed reports for National Public Radio.