Alan Geller

Senior Lecturer on Social and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Kresge Building, Room 701A
677 Huntington Ave
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

Personal Statement

I have been a SBS faculty member since 2010. I have marveled at the accomplishments, breadth of work, and productivity of the Department and look forward to collaborating with faculty and students. For more than 20 years, I was on staff and faculty at the Boston University School of Medicine and Public Health and moved my research to the Division of Public Health Practice (HSPH) in 2009.

I took a very circuitous path to a public health career. I moved to Boston in 1973 and worked for years as a day care worker, steelworker, and then obtained my nursing degree in 1984. I worked on a surgical oncology floor and through caring for many patients with preventable but late-stage cancers, I began to see first hand the strong and compelling need for cancer screening and prevention research. I had the pleasure of working on multiple melanoma, cancer prevention, and medical education projects with Dr. Howard Koh from 1986 through 1997 before he left BU to become Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health. I joined the faculty at the BU Department of Dermatology in 1997 and left in 2009 as a Research Associate Professor of Dermatology and Public Health.

My current projects are varied and challenging with strong interests in cancer disparities, cancer screening, and community-based and home/family interventions.  My primary research is aimed at reducing the disproportionate burden of melanoma mortality for persons of lower SES and middle-aged and older men. We have tried to accomplish this through public awareness, national and international screening programs, training, and exploring patient and physician communication patterns. We also have a number of Federal grants for tobacco cessation and elimination of second-hand smoke exposure in multiple venues-Boston public housing developments, low income families in Boston, Lawrence, and Worcester, and at 10 US medical schools in which we are testing novel educational strategies to train medical students in tobacco cessation. I am very excited about participating in a randomized trial for smoking cessation that was recently conducted at Children’s Hospital to reach parents of hospitalized children. I am also the PI for a new NIH RO1 entitled Reducing Risks of Skin Cancer among Childhood Cancer Survivors. We are also submitting grant applications in the near future toward the development of a FITLINE for parents of children at high risk of obesity.

For the past two years, I have taught a class entitled ‘Successes and Challenges in Health Behavior Change’ where we look at some of the more successful comprehensive public health initiatives such as tobacco campaigns to see what lessons we can learn for modern-day epidemics such as those for tanning beds and obesity. I also direct the SBS SM2 program and facilitate student culminating research projects.

I have greatly enjoyed interactions with students and look forward to new collaborations on our cancer screening and education projects.

Curriculum Vitae

A recent copy of my Curriculum Vitae can be found here.