Public Health and Policy Researcher Joins the TSET Health Promotion Research Center

Amanda Kong, Ph.D., MPH, has joined the TSET Health Promotion Research Center at OU Health Sciences Center. Kong is an expert in health geography, tobacco control and tobacco-related health disparities.

Kong comes to the HPRC from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health where she received her doctoral and master’s degrees in health behavior.

While at UNC-Chapel Hill, she was the principal investigator of a grant funded by the National Cancer Institute (F31CA239331) that investigated inequities in tobacco retailer density in the U.S. and associations between retailer density, tobacco use and COPD-related hospitalizations. Kong’s study found that substantial racial, ethnic and socioeconomic inequities in the locations of tobacco retail outlets persist in the U.S. Additionally, she showed that county-level tobacco and convenience store density were associated with daily adult smoking, COPD-related hospital discharges and number of days spent in the hospital. Her study highlights the need to reform national and local policies related to neighborhood retail tobacco product outlet density.

Currently, Kong is co-leading a grant funded by the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center that uses a social ecological and health geography approach to explore racial and socioeconomic inequities in substance use and health care seeking behaviors among cancer survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While earning her degrees in public health, Kong recognized her passion for research, which centers on understanding the inequitable availability and marketing of unhealthy commodities, such as tobacco and alcohol products. She values collaboration with practitioners and community partners to translate science and evidence-based research into sustainable and effective pro-equity public health policies.

“I am thrilled to be joining the TSET Heath Promotion Research Center,” Kong said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to promote health equity in Oklahoma and nationally by continuing to build my research on understanding place-related effects on tobacco use and cessation and cancer prevention and control.”

The HPRC receives funding from OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center via a NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (P30CA225520) and Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust contract number R21-02.