Home Health Dr. Hasmeena Kathuria to lead Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention

Dr. Hasmeena Kathuria to lead Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention


The Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI) at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, nationally recognized for its work in tobacco research and its commitment to translating findings into patient care, outreach programming and policy advocacy, has announced that Midwest native, Dr. Hasmeena Kathuria, will become the next director.

Dr. Kathuria is a pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine physician with expertise in research and policy regarding tobacco dependence in communities disproportionately affected by tobacco use. Dr. Kathuria earned her bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University and her medical degree from Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. She completed her residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Indiana University and a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care at Boston University Medicine Center. She joined the Boston University School of Medicine faculty in 2004.

Her numerous honors include a fellowship in the American Thoracic Society, the Clinical Innovations Award from the Evans Foundation at Boston University School of Medicine and the American Lung Association Lung Cancer Discovery Award, according to a press release from the University of Wisconsin. Since 2015, Dr. Kathuria has structured her research around in-paitent and out-patient strategies to get to the root causes of tobacco-related health issues, such as chronic health issues or mental health diseases that provoke people to use tobacco. 

“When people come to the hospital with a smoking-related disease like a COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] exacerbation or a stroke, I thought that was a great opportunity to talk to them about smoking, and how if they stop smoking it may help them from coming back to the hospital,”  Dr. Kathuria tells Madison365. She brings extensive experience leading teams to advance tobacco treatment and research, implementation science, and tobacco policy and advocacy, particularly with an eye toward ensuring that programs and initiatives are scalable and sustainable. 

Dr. Kathuria also addresses the impact of tobacco dependence in low-to-income and queer communities of color. When asked about the similarities that she anticipates between the tobacco usage in New England communities versus what she might expect in Wisconsin she tells Madison365, “When we look at national rates of smoking it’s gone from 50 percent, in the 1960s, down to about 12 percent. When you look at the demographics that we take care of it’s about 25-30 percent.

“The populations that are affected by tobacco-related health inequities are people who are low-income, Black Americans, even if they don’t start smoking until later in their lives,” she adds.

She also named the LGBTQIA+ community, and those with opioid usage issues as highly impacted groups that suffer from tobacco-related health disparities at a rate of 80-90 percent. Developing care for these highly impacted groups is the center of Dr. Kathuria’s focus when she is implementing tobacco intervention tactics. 

Dr. Kathuria is excited to bring her expertise to Wisconsin and work alongside many other leading researchers in the tobacco intervention field. “I’ve known the work from people at CTRI for years, in fact, a lot of the research that they have done has been remodeled in our programs, we implemented treatments that they have found to help in health systems,” Kathuria says. “I’m excited to work alongside an amazing group of people who are dedicated to helping people to stop smoking.”