MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

K. Michael Cummings, PhD, MPH, Joins Hollings Cancer Center


Cummings to Launch Large Lung Cancer Prevention Study Using Spiral CT

(Oct. 21, 2011, Charleston, SC) - One of the world’s leading authorities on tobacco policy, K. Michael Cummings, PhD, MPH, has joined the faculty of the Medical University of South Carolina and will lead research on tobacco control, public policy, and smoking cessation within the Hollings Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control program.

 “Hollings is already doing important research on tobacco and tobacco cessation,” said Cummings, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. “With one-third of all cancer deaths linked to tobacco, South Carolina has a significant public health problem. My role will include building on and advancing all facets of the center’s tobacco research with the goals of changing health behaviors and redirecting public policy toward the same end.”

Cummings said his plans include establishing comprehensive smoking-cessation services available to residents statewide, and launching a large study using spiral CT scanning to screen heavy smokers and formerly-heavy smokers for lung cancer.

Recognized internationally for his work in tobacco epidemiology, Cummings has guided global public policy and regulations in the marketing and distribution of nicotine products. He has authored landmark reports for the Office of the Surgeon General and the National Cancer Institute. In the late 1990s, Cummings helped publish previously-secret tobacco industry documents detailing how product design affects nicotine addiction. He also has served as an expert witness against the tobacco industry in prominent legal proceedings that resulted in the Master Settlement Agreement.  

Here’s what MUSC leaders are saying about Cummings:

“I am extraordinarily excited that Dr. Cummings is joining our department and will lead a team of researchers and clinical experts in efforts to reduce risky and potentially life-threatening tobacco use behaviors in children, adolescents, and adults in South Carolina.  Dr. Cummings' work has already had a self-evident and powerful impact on the well-being and health of people throughout the world."
- Thomas W. Uhde, MD, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences 

"Simply stated, Mike Cummings is one of the very best tobacco control researchers in the world.  His research acumen, leadership skills, and commitment to public health policy will undoubtedly have an immeasurable impact on the Hollings Cancer Center, MUSC, South Carolina, and beyond.  We are fortunate and delighted that he is joining us."
- Anthony J. Alberg, PhD, associate director of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Hollings Cancer Center

Prior to MUSC, Cummings was at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, where he served as chair of the Department of Health Behavior and director of the New York State Smokers’ Quitline. He will continue to lead a large international NIH study evaluating the impact of the World Health Organization’s tobacco control policies.

About Hollings Cancer Center

Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina is a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center and the largest academic-based cancer program in South Carolina. The cancer center has more than
$35 million in cancer research funding and more than 200 people are currently participating on a cancer clinical trial at Hollings Cancer Center.

Hollings offers state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, therapies and surgical techniques and has multidisciplinary clinics that include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation therapists, radiologists, pathologists, psychologists and many other specialists seeing patients under one roof. Multidisciplinary care is provided for most adult and pediatric cancers. For more information please visit


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