Ken Ward

Kenneth D. Ward, PhD

Professor and Director, Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences

201 Robison Hall
Office Hours
By appointment only

About Kenneth D. Ward

Kenneth D. Ward, PhD is Professor and Director of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He also serves as Adjunct Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, and Intervention Director of the Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies. Trained as a clinical health psychologist, Dr. Ward's research focuses on community-, healthcare system-, and population-level approaches to reduce the burden of tobacco use. He is especially interested in improving methods to help smokers quit and holds a National Certificate in Tobacco Treatment Practice. Other interests include behavioral and community approaches to improve chronic conditions such as such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and obesity.

Dr. Ward is a fellow of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, American Academy of Health Behavior, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and was recently a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. At the University of Memphis, he is the recipient of the Faudree Professorship and the Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award.

Current research projects include: (1) Epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of waterpipe ("hookah") and cigarette smoking in the U.S. and Middle East; (2) improving delivery of lung cancer treatment services, including smoking cessation (with Baptist Cancer Center); (3) effects of stress and tobacco use on birth outcomes; (4) use of tobacco and other substances in the aftermath of a disaster; and (5) mHealth interventions to improve children's health.


  • Residency, Clinical Psychology Residency Training Consortium, University of Mississippi Medical Center/GV "Sonny" Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Jackson, MS
  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Memphis
  • MS, Clinical Psychology, University of Memphis
  • AB, Psychology, Brown University

Research Interests

  • Tobacco use epidemiology and intervention
  • Behavioral and community-based prevention of chronic disease
  • Global health

Courses Taught

  • PUBH 7130/8130: Social Determinants of Health (syllabus)
  • PUBH 7161/8161: Health Behavior Theories (syllabus)
  • PUBH 7343/8343: Tobacco Use: Causes, Consequences and Control
  • PUBH 7450/8450: Randomized Clinical Trials (syllabus)
  • PUBH 8720: Grant Writing in Health Science
  • PUBH 8901: Doctoral Professional Development Seminar (syllabus)

Recent Publications

* indicates a student author

  • Ahn, S., Lee, J., Carson, L., Bartlett-Prescott, J., Post, L.*, & Ward, K.D.  (2018). Evaluation of a behavioral intervention with multiple components among low-income and uninsured adults with obesity and diabetes. American Journal of Health Promotion, 18, 409-422.
  • Alexander, A.C.*, Chen, V.*, & Ward, K.D. Is intelligence associated with mortality from the use of lethal force by law enforcement?  In press, Intelligence.
  • Alexander, A.C.*, Obong'o, C.O.*, Chavan, P.*, Vander Weg, M.W., & Ward, K.D. (2018). Applying the Problem Behavior Theory to childhood drug use: findings from a cross-sectional sample of young boys participating in a community-based youth organization. Substance Use and Misuse, 53, 610-621.
  • Alexander, A.C.*, & Ward, K.D. (2018). Understanding post-disaster substance use and psychological distress using concepts from the self-medication hypothesis and social cognitive theory. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 50, 177-186.
  • Alomari, M.A., Al-Sheyab, N.A., & Ward, K.D.  (2018). Adolescent waterpipe use is associated with greater body weight: The Irbid-TRY.  Substance Use and Misuse, 53, 1194-1202.
  • Asfar, T., Caban-Martinez, A., McClure, L.A., Ruano-Herreria, E.C., Sierra, D., Gilford Jr. C.G., Samano, D., Dietz, N.A., Ward, K.D., Arheart, K.L., & Lee, D.J. (2018). A cluster-randomized pilot trial of a tailored worksite smoking cessation intervention targeting Hispanic/Latino construction workers: intervention development and research design. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 67, 47-55.
  • Bahelah, R., Ben Taleb, Z. Jaber, R., DiFranza, J.R., Ward, K.D., Osibogun, O., Eissenberg, T, & Maziak. W. Determinants of progression of nicotine dependence symptoms in adolescent waterpipe smokers. In press, Tobacco Control.
  • Carswell, A.L.*, Ward, K.D., Vander Weg, M.W., Scarinci, I., Girsch, L.*, Relyea, G., & Chen, W.* (2018). Prospective associations of breastfeeding and smoking cessation among low-income pregnant women. Maternal and Child Nutrition. 2018;e12622.
  • Collins, A.C.*, Ward, K.D., McClanahan, B.M., Slawson, D.L., Vukadinovich, C.M., Mays, K.E*. Wilson, N., & Relyea, G. Bone accrual in child and adolescent non-elite swimmers: a two-year longitudinal study. In press, Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.
  • Dietz, N.A., Asfar, T., Caban-Martinez, A., Ward, K.D., Santiago, K., Padron, C,. Ruano-Herreria, E.C., Moore, K.,  Stillman, J.D., Poveda, A., McClure, L., & Lee, D.J. (2018). Developing a worksite-based culturally adapted smoking cessation intervention for Hispanic/Latino construction works. Journal of Smoking Cessation. doi: 10.1017/jsc.2018.16, 10 pages.
  • Kedia, S., Ward, K.D., Digney, S.A.*, Jackson, B.M.*, Rugless, F., Faris, N., Roark, K.S., & Osarogiagbon, R.U. A qualitative assessment of organizational barriers to optimal lung cancer care, In press, Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology.
  • Sharpe, T.*, Alsahlanee, A., Ward, K.D., & Doyle, F. (2018). Systematic review of clinician-reported barriers to provision of smoking cessation interventions in hospital inpatient settings. Journal of Smoking Cessation, 1-11.
  • Smeltzer, M.P., Rugless, F., Faris, N.R., Ray, M., Meadows, M.*, Jackson, B.*, Foust, C., Boetang, N., Patel, A., Robbins, E.T., Ward, K.D., Klesges, L., & Osarogiagbon, R. (2018). Pragmatic trial of a multidisciplinary lung cancer care model in a community healthcare setting: study design, implementation evaluation, and baseline clinical results. Translational Lung Cancer Research, 7, 88-102.
  • Vander Weg, M.W., Coday, M., Stockton, M.B., McClanahan, B., Relyea, G., Read, M.C., Wilson, N., Connelly, S., Richey, P., Johnson, K.C., & Ward, K.D. (2018). Community-based physical activity as adjunctive smoking cessation treatment: Rationale, design, and baseline data for the Lifestyle Enhancement Program (LEAP) randomized controlled trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 9, 50-59. 

Full list of publications: