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Lilianna Phan, PhD, MPH, MS

Lilianna Phan headshot

Assistant Professor
Community Health & Prevention, Drexel FIRST Program, Joint Appointment with the College of Nursing and Health Professions


PhD, Behavioral and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Maryland College Park
MPH, Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Public Health, Temple University
MS, Biomedical Sciences, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
BS, Psychology, Saint Joseph's University


Lilianna Phan, PhD, MPH, MS, is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention with a joint appointment in the Division of Graduate Nursing at the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Dr. Phan joined Drexel as part of the Drexel FIRST (Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation) program. She is also a full member of the Cancer Risk and Control Program with the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Research Consortium.

Dr. Phan’s program of research focuses on understanding multi-level determinants of tobacco use disparities and leveraging health communication science to help reduce these disparities and promote health equity. Her research aims to help prevent and reduce commercial tobacco use among racially minoritized populations, particularly young adults. She utilizes community-engaged, mixed-methods, and experimental approaches including eye-tracking to understand psychosocial factors associated with commercial tobacco use and develop health education interventions. In her ongoing NIH/FDA-funded career development award (K99/R00), she is developing and evaluating cigarillo smoking prevention messages among Black young adults, as Black young adults have the highest prevalence of cigarillo smoking due largely in part to tobacco industry marketing.

Prior to joining Drexel, Dr. Phan was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Division of Intramural Research. She was a recipient of the 2022 Coleman Research Innovation Award to develop a scale measuring beliefs related to cigar smoking among Black young adults, which informs her current work. During her NIMHD fellowship, Dr. Phan also received the NIH Summer Research Mentor Award for three consecutive years. Dr. Phan also completed early postdoctoral training focusing on tobacco regulatory science and health communication at the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center where she received the 2020 Richard C. Devereaux Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the Prevent Cancer Foundation. She recently received the 2023 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco’s Health Equity Network’s Travel Scholarship and currently serves as a member of the Network’s evaluation subcommittee.

Learn more about Dr. Phan's lab: The Promoting Health EQUITY in Addressing Nicotine Lab

Research Interests

  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Community-Engaged Research
  • Tobacco Prevention and Control
  • Tobacco-Related Health Disparities
  • Tobacco Regulatory Science
  • Health Communication
  • Racism and Discrimination


Phan L, Seyl C, Chen-Sankey J, Niederdeppe J, Guy MC, Sterling KL, Choi K. Exploring Young Adults’ Beliefs about Cigar Smoking by Susceptibility: A Belief Elicitation Study. Nicotine Tob Res. 2023.

Phan L, McNeel TS, Chen-Sankey J, Niederdeppe J, Tan ASL, Choi K. U.S. Trends in Age of Cigar Smoking Initiation by Race/Ethnicity and Education. Am J Prev Med. 2022.

Liu T, Phan L, Chen-Sankey J, Ajith A, Hacker K, Jewett B, Choi K. Race, Concern About COVID-19 Discrimination, and Cigarette Smoking Behavior: Comparison Between US Asian and White Adults Who Use Commercial Tobacco. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2022.

Zarei K, Hamilton-Moseley KR, Chen-Sankey J, Phan L, Ajith A, Hacker K, Jewett B, Choi K. Financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic and increased receipt of commercial tobacco discount coupons among US adults who use commercial tobacco. Tob Control. 2023.

Leshner G, Phan L, Stevens EM, Johnson AC, Villanti AC, Kim N, Kim S, Ma H, Seo J, Sun F, Keller-Hamilton B, Wagener TL, Mays D. Psychophysiological responses to hookah tobacco public education messages among young adults. Health Psychol. 2021.

See Dr. Phan's complete list of publications on Google Scholar