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Ann Whidden, MPH

Email: awhidden@phi.org
Desk: 510-285-5631

Biography

Dianne C. Barker, MHS, serves as a principal investigator on research and evaluation projects administered by the Public Health Institute in Oakland, CA, and also is president and CEO of Barker Bi-Coastal Health Consultants, Inc. (BBHC), a health policy consulting firm located in Rhode Island. Ms. Barker has over twenty-five years of experience examining the effects of environmental and policy influences on youth and young adult behavior, primarily in the area of nicotine delivery products. Ms. Barker currently is co-PI on a NIH project examining the co-marketing of marijuana-related products in vape shops. She is the one of the first researchers to explore marketing practices in vape shops and developed the first ever protocol to interview vape shop owners. In the recent past, she co-developed a California Field Poll examining voters’ attitudes toward e-cigarettes, a city-wide evaluation of a new flavored tobacco policy ban in retail stores within 500 feet of schools in the city of Chicago, and a project examining the effects of tobacco-free policies around California college campuses on the retail marketing of e-cigarettes. In addition, she has been the principal investigator on numerous tobacco control surveys, including the National Youth Smoking Cessation Survey, which built on two earlier CDC Teenage Attitude and Practice Surveys, the second of which she was instrumental in designing the questionnaire and sampling approach. Ms. Barker also has directed a field staff of 32 data collectors to collect obesity-related community data in 400 communities nationwide over a three-year period.

Ms. Barker has designed and implemented several public health evaluations, including Voices for Healthy Kids Evaluation, an AHA-RWJF state policy advocacy initiative; Turning Point Evaluation: The Impact of Infrastructure Change on Local Public Health, a RWJF-W.K.Kellogg program to strengthen state public health data systems; and The Rudd Center Food Marketing to Youth Program, a RWJF research platform to reduce the marketing of unhealthy foods to children.

Barker also has served on numerous advisory committees over the years. Under her leadership as the co-chair of the National Partnership to Help Pregnant Smokers Quit Policy Working Group, the Partnership was instrumental in educating national Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services leaders to mandate tobacco treatment for pregnant women through Medicaid policy regulation, prior to the Affordable Care Act.

Originally trained as a demographer, she received her Masters in Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Population Dynamics, in 1987.

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