About Us

About Us
Current staff and collaborators

The Team

Gregory N. Connolly

Gregory N. Connolly, DMD, MPH


Professor of the Practice of Public Health
Faculty Director, Center for Global Tobacco Control, HSPH

Gregory N. Connolly is the Director for the Center for Global Tobacco Control and Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health at Harvard School of Public Health. He is also a Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor awarded by the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI). He conducts basic and applied research on tobacco products with a focus on the contribution to dependence and abuse liability. His research interests lie in establishing a science base for tobacco product regulation. He currently is the principal investigator on two grants in this area. Also, he directs research projects in a number of foreign countries and at the international level to establish local science needed for the adoption of effective tobacco control policies and programs and evaluating their impact on population health. He is the principal investigator on one grant in this area. Finally, he conducts and directs research on the dangers of secondhand smoke, mechanistic links between exposure and disease and measures to control secondhand smoke. He is the principal investigator on one grant in this area.

V. Rees

Vaughan W. Rees, PhD


Senior Research Scientist
Deputy Director, Center for Global Tobacco Control, HSPH

Dr. Rees currently serves as the Principal investigator on the MassCONECT 4 Kids grant funded by NCMHD, as well as the co-investigator on grants from NCI and FAMRI. He is a co-instructor for the HSPH course entitled Approaches to International Tobacco Control. His research focuses on assessment of the influence of product design and marketing on smoker behavior and sensory perceptions. This work is used to inform tobacco control policy, develop resources for communicating risks of tobacco products, and enhance understanding of factors that contribute to tobacco dependence. He also leads work on a community-based intervention to reduce secondhand smoke exposure among young children, to reduce health disparities among underserved communities.


Constantine Vardavas, MD, RN, MPH, PhD


Senior Research Scientist,
Center for Global Tobacco Control, HSPH

Dr. Vardavas’ research is focused on the assessment and monitoring of tobacco control initiatives (smoke-free areas, graphic warning labels, mass media and educational campaigns).  He is also actively engaged in research on the acute and chronic health effects of tobacco use, MRTP use and secondhand smoke exposure, with a special focus on vulnerable populations such as children, adolescents, pregnant women and adults with comorbidities.  Dr. Vardavas was the co-PI of the “Fetal” study (funded by FAMRI, and scientific director of the HEART project (Hellenic Action for Research against Tobacco) funded by the George Behrakis Foundation, a project aimed to apply gold standard tobacco control measures within the Hellenic region to protect public health from the ramifications of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.He has participated actively in a number of European FP7 projects, and is current co Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Tobacco Induced Diseases (www.tobaccoinduceddiseases.com).


Hillel R. Alpert, ScM, ScD


Research Scientist, Center for Global Tobacco Control, HSPH

Dr. Alpert’s major research interests include: secondhand smoke exposure and its biological and health effects, surveillance of the tobacco market including product design and patterns of use in populations, and applied policy research for tobacco product regulation and international tobacco control.


Monique Bertic, MSW, MPH, MPA


Project Director, Center for Global Tobacco Control, HSPH

Ms. Bertic’s  major responsibilities include: strategic management of the Center’s tobacco control projects in Europe and the Middle East.  Also leads strategic planning for funding, development of collaborative relationships and research support activities.

Robyn Keske, MSW, MPH


Program Director, MassCONECT 4 Kids, Center for Global Tobacco Control, HSPH

Ms. Keske’s major responsibilities include: direction of the MassCONECT 4 Kids Promoting Smoke Free Homes Study, a multi-site randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing (MI), compared with usual best practices (UBP), in helping parents to make their home smoke free and reduce children’s exposure to SHS. She is primarily responsible for developing the study procedures, managing the community health workers in the three participating cities and convening the community partners and community advisory group. Ms. Keske brings her experience and passion for utilizing community based participatory research strategies to address health disparities to her work with the Center for Global Tobacco Control.

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Natasha A. Sokol, MPH


Research Analyst, Center for Global Tobacco Control, HSPH

Ms. Sokol’s current research focus includes assessing the impact of tobacco product design on initiation, dependence and population use, through investigation of internal tobacco industry documents and other secondary data sources.  In addition, she is interested in drug use and addiction, mental health, health disparities and media advocacy.

Robin Blum Flaig, SM


Associate Director of Finance and Administration, Dept. of Social and Behavioral Sciences, HSPH

Her responsibilities include: management of all aspects of sponsored research and departmental administration for the Center for Global Tobacco Control, Program for Community Research, and LAMPS.

Rubim Rwakabuba


Finance Assistant, Center for Global Tobacco Control, HSPH

His major responsibilities include: coordination of accounts payable, reimbursements, and local operations for the Center for Global Tobacco Control, Program for Community Research, and LAMPS.

Carole Smith


Administrative Coordinator, Center for Global Tobacco Control, HSPH