American Association for Cancer Research

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Dr. John Pierce Honored With 2013 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Prevention Research


October 22, 2013

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) congratulates John P. Pierce, Ph.D., distinguished professor of family and preventive medicine and director of population sciences at the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center, on receiving the 2013 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Prevention Research.

The award is presented annually to a researcher in honor of his or her seminal contributions to the field of cancer prevention. Such investigations must have been conducted in basic, translational, clinical, epidemiological, or behavioral science in cancer prevention research. Additionally, these studies must have had not only a major impact on the field, but must also have stimulated new directions in this important area.

Pierce is being recognized for his work on the epidemiology of health behaviors, in particular on tobacco smoking and nutrition in cancer care.

The award will be presented at the 12th Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held Oct. 27-30, in National Harbor, Md. Pierce will present his lecture, “A Focus on Health Behaviors to Prevent Cancer,” at 6:15 p.m. ET on Oct. 27, during the opening plenary session at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center.

“This is an exciting time for cancer prevention research with an explosion in our knowledge of the biological basis of disease,” said Pierce. “However, it is often our own health behaviors that dramatically increase our risk of cancer and its progression.”

Pierce’s research has had a major impact on public health and approaches to tobacco control. He showed that population interventions led by mass media reduced smoking in his native Australia. Pierce made the case for smoke-free workplaces and schools in California, which, in 1994, became the first state to require smoke-free workplaces and introduced a smokers’ helpline to increase smoking cessation.

Among his other initiatives, Pierce has analyzed the influence of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s “Joe Camel” marketing campaign on encouraging smoking among teenagers. He published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that demonstrated the campaign successfully targeted children: those as young as 6 could identify the mascot and its association with cigarettes.  

In addition to his roles at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, Pierce is also the director of the doctoral program in public health at the joint program between UC San Diego and San Diego State University, and a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and the Society for Behavioral Medicine. Pierce has been honored throughout his career with numerous awards, including the first Doll/Wynder award for epidemiological research from the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, and the inaugural lifetime achievement award from the joint Epidemiological Societies of North America for translating epidemiology into public health practice.

Pierce received his bachelor’s degree from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, a master’s degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and a master’s degree and a doctorate from Stanford University in Stanford, Calif.