Section on Tobacco Control

Executive Committee

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Provisional Section on Tobacco Control was formed in July 2012. The current Executive Committee includes pediatricians that face the daily challenges of addressing tobacco issues with patients, families, and the community. They know firsthand the health effects from secondhand smoke exposure, smoking during pregnancy, and smoking and tobacco use initiation.


Read the latest update from the Co-Chairs.

Ruth A. Etzel, MD, PhD, FAAP Ruth Etzel
Dr. Etzel is Professor of Epidemiology at the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin, and was previously the Senior Officer for Environmental Health Research in the Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization. She completed residencies in Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine and received her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Etzel began studying children’s secondhand smoke exposure in 1983, when, as a pediatric resident, she helped to conduct the first study to document that cotinine was a useful marker of children’s passive exposure to tobacco smoke. As a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Etzel conducted a retrospective cohort study linking passive smoking to middle ear effusion among young children. At CDC, she completed the Epidemic Intelligence Service Program and then founded and directed the Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch. For 25 years she has used science to advocate against involuntary smoking; her work at CDC led to the ban on smoking in US airliners. She is the founding editor of the first handbook of Pediatric Environmental Health, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, now in its 3rd Edition. Dr. Etzel is also board-certified in Preventive Medicine and served for nine years on the American Board of Preventive Medicine. She was a member of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s First Expert Panel on the Management of Asthma. Dr Etzel has extensive experience working with national and international organizations to educate pediatricians and other health professionals about the risks of children's exposure to tobacco.


Karen Wilson, MD, MPH, FAAP
Karen Wilson Dr. Wilson is an Associate Professor and Section Head of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, CO. Dr. Wilson received her undergraduate degree at St. Lawrence University, and her Master's in Public Health and MD at the University of Rochester. Dr. Wilson's research interests include the impact of secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) on children, and how best to help reduce their exposure. She also studies hospitalizations for respiratory illness, and the impact of SHS on inflammatory markers and development of asthma in children hospitalized for bronchiolitis. She has an R01 from the National Cancer Institute to study an inpatient parent cessation and exposure reduction intervention, and she is PI of the AAP Richmond Center Respiratory Illness and Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Kids (RISSK) project which studies biomarkers of inflammation in smoke-exposed children, and a Co-PI on the AAP Richmond Center Measurement Core project. Dr. Wilson is a Co-Chair of the AAP Provisional Section on Tobacco Control, as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings network.



Sophie J. Balk, MD, FAAPMembership Chair
Sophie Balk Dr. Balk is a general pediatrician at Children's Hospital at Montefiore and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She practices pediatrics and teaches in a community-based health center in the Bronx, New York. For the last two decades, Dr. Balk's academic work has focused on educating clinicians about environmental health issues relevant to children. She was Chairperson of the AAP Committee on Environmental Health from 1999 – 2003. She is Associate Editor of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Editions of Pediatric Environmental Health, a manual for clinicians published by the AAP. She founded and was Chairperson of the Academic Pediatrics Association Special Interest Group on Environmental Health. Dr. Balk has lectured regionally and nationally on smoking cessation, sun safety and other environmental health issues relevant to clinical practice.


Harold Farber, MD, MSPH, FAAPPolicy Chair
Harold Farber Dr. Harold Farber is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Pulmonary Section, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. He serves as Associate Medical Director for Texas Children’s Health Plan and has previously served as editor of the journal Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology. He is a member of the AAP Richmond Center Tobacco Consortium as well as a member of the Center's Faculty Expert Panel. He is a co-author of the American College of Chest Physicians Tobacco Dependence Treatment Toolkit 3rd Edition and author of the chapter on Treating Tobacco Dependence in the AAP textbook, Pediatric Pulmonology. With over 25 articles in peer reviewed scientific literature, his research has focused on asthma and the impact of secondhand tobacco smoke on childhood asthma.


Judith Groner, MD, FAAP — Education Chair
Judith Groner Dr. Judith Groner, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, is a practicing general pediatrician and an attending physician in the Primary Care Network at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She is also the Director of the Academic General Pediatrics Fellowship Program at Nationwide Children's. Dr. Groner has expertise in pediatric tobacco issues as a clinician, educator and researcher. The population that that she serves (low income and inner city) is disproportionately affected by tobacco usage with high prevalence of parental smoking and child secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure. Among these children, the concomitant prevalence and severity of respiratory illness is very high. Her research focus for many years has been SHS exposure and child health. It is through this work and her clinical practice that she views SHS exposure and active smoking as a major health risk disparity, harming the individuals from low income households throughout their life span. Currently, she is an AAP Richmond Center Principal Investigator for the project Secondhand Smoke & Vascular Endothelial Stress in Toddlers which examines SHS exposure as a precursor to vascular changes leading ultimately to cardiovascular disease. Prior funding has been through the NIH, the American Lung Association, and the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, among other funding sources. Additionally, she has been closely involved with pediatric resident training at Nationwide Children's Hospital on SHS exposure and parental smoking (Target Tobacco) which arose out of an AAP initiative for pediatric residents.


John E. Moore, MD, FAAP
John Moore Dr. Moore is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology/Biology. He graduated with his Medical Doctorate from Wake Forest University Medical School. He served his internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He is board-certified with the American Board of Pediatrics.



Ex officio Members:

Susan Walley, MD, FAAPPublications Chair
Susan Walley Dr. Walley is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine. She graduated from Duke University with a BS degree in Chemistry and Biology and received her MD from the Medical College of Georgia. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham at Children’s of Alabama. She joined the faculty as a hospitalist in 2004. Her Research interests include: reduction of childhood Tobacco Smoke Exposure and use of quality improvement methodology to improve inpatient care including patient identification and acute asthma exacerbations. She was a 2012 Awardee of a Julius B. Richmond New Investigator Grant, and a 2009 Awardee of a Julius B. Richmond Visiting Lectureship Program.


Monica Tang, MDResident Liaison
Monica Tang



Dr. Tang is an internal medicine-pediatrics resident at Duke University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology from Northwestern University. She graduated with her Medical Doctorate from Northwestern University. .