Little, Melissa A., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Melissa A. Little is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia where she conducts health behavior research with military populations. She also serves as the Deputy Director of Military Population Health within the Center for Addiction and Prevention Research at the 59th Medical Wing, Lackland AFB, Texas. Her research focuses on developing, evaluating and translating evidence-based health behavior and disease prevention interventions for vulnerable populations. She has a growing research portfolio focusing on promoting tobacco cessation, substance abuse prevention and weight reduction among active duty military, retirees and dependents.

Dr. Little is currently leading the development and evaluation of a brief tobacco intervention for Air Force Technical Trainees at Lackland AFB. She also oversees the evaluation of the Freedom Quit Line, a tobacco quit line open to all TriCare beneficiaries worldwide that tests whether re-engaging individuals after a failed quit attempt promotes tobacco cessation. In her role as Deputy Director of Military Population Health, Dr. Little is responsible for all grant operations on military installations ensuring both quality research and respectful collaboration with the Air Force.

Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences

  • Ph.D., University of Southern California, Preventive Medicine
  • M.P.H., University of Southern California, Health Communication
  • B.A., University of Southern California, International Relations and Psychology

Department of Public Health Sciences
University of Virginia
1100 Wilford Hall Loop, Bldg 4554
Lackland AFB, Texas  78236
Tel: 210-292-5995

Expertise: Type II translation; military populations; tobacco prevention and cessation; program design and evaluation

Research Interests: Brief interventions targeting tobacco and alcohol-related behaviors; Effectiveness trials targeting military populations; Dissemination and implementation research; Translational research

Current Funding:

  • Multiple Principal Investigator, Evaluation of a Brief Tobacco Intervention in the US Military
    • Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    • Overall goal: To evaluate the short-term impact of a Brief Tobacco Intervention (BTI) on reducing tobacco use among Airmen in Technical Training in the US Air Force.
  • Co-Investigator, Enhancing the Efficacy of a Smoking Quitline in the Military
    • Agency: National Health, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
    • Overall goal: To determine whether re-engaging individuals after a failed quit attempt following a standard smoking cessation intervention promotes tobacco cessation.
  • Co-Investigator, Predictors of Smokeless Tobacco and Dual Use in the US Military
    • Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    • Overall goal: To determine the rates and determinants of new, emerging, and traditional tobacco use and initiation in the military.
  • Co-Investigator, Behavioral Weight Management for Pregnant and Postpartum Women in the Military
    • Agency: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
    • Overall goal: To design a stepped-care gestational weight gain intervention and a postpartum weight loss intervention for active duty women, while accommodating the lifestyle and environment that is unique to military members.
  • Co-Investigator, Prevention of Alcohol Related Incidents in the US Air Force
    • Agency: Department of Defense (DoD)
    • Overall goal: To reduce alcohol related incidents among US Airmen by testing the Alcohol Misconduct Prevention Program (AMPP) versus AMPP plus a brief alcohol intervention booster.
  • Co-Investigator, Strategies to Promote Cessation in Smokers who are Not Ready to Quit
    • Agency: National Cancer Institute (NCI)
    • Overall goal: To determine the most efficacious treatment for smokers not ready to quit smoking in the next 30 days.

Selected recent publications:

  • Little, M.A., Ebbert, J.O., Bursac, Z., Talcott, G.W., Talley, L., LeRoy, K.M., Womack, C.R., Hryshko-Mullen, A.S., Klesges, R.C. (In Press). Enhancing the Efficacy of a Smoking Quit Line in the Military: Study rationale, design and methods of the Freedom Quit Line. Contemporary Clinical Trials.
  • Ebbert, J.O., Little, M.A., Klesges, R.C., Bursac, Z., Johnson, K.C., Thomas, F., Vander Weg, M.W. (2017). Step care treatment for smoking cessation. Health Education Research, 32(1):1-11.
  • Haibach, J.P., Glotfelter, M.A., Hall, K.S., Masheb, R.M., Little, M.A., Shepardson, R.L., Dobmeyer, A.C., Funderburk, J.S., Hunter, C.L., Dundon, M., Hausmann, L.R.M., Trynosky, S.K., Goodrich, D.E., Kilbourne, A.M., Knight, S.J., Talcott, G.W., Goldstein, M. (2017). Military and veteran health behavior research and practice: A clinical through public health perspective in the United States. Journal of Behavioral Medicine.
  • Derefinko, K.J., Klesges, R.C., Bursac, Z., Little, M.A., Hryshko-Mullen, A., Talcott, G.W. (2016). Alcohol Issues Prior to Training in the United States Air Force. Addictive Behaviors, 58:142-148.
  • Little, M.A., & Ebbert, J.O. (2016). The safety of treatments for tobacco use disorder. Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, 15(3):331-341.
  • Little, M.A., Pokhrel, P., Sussman, S., Derefinko, K.J., Bursac, Z., & Rohrbach, L.A. (2016). Factors associated with the use of adolescent tobacco cessation programs in schools. Journal of Smoking Cessation.
  • Little, M.A., Bursac, Z., Derefinko, K.J., Ebbert, J.O., Talcott, G.W., Hryshko-Mullen, A.S., & Klesges, R.C. (2016). Types of dual and poly tobacco users in the United States military. American Journal of Epidemiology, 184(3):211-218.
  • Little, M.A., Talcott, G.W., Bursac, Z., Linde, B.D., Pagano, L.A., Messler, E.C., Ebbert, J.O., & Klesges, R.C. (2016). Efficacy of a Brief Tobacco Intervention for Tobacco and Nicotine Containing Products in The United States Air Force. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 18(5):1142-1149.
  • Little, M.A., Derefinko, K.J., Bursac, Z., Ebbert, J.O., Colvin, L., Talcott, G.W., Hryshko-Mullen, A.S., Richey, P.A., & Klesges, R.C. (2015). Prevalence and correlates of tobacco and nicotine containing products use in a sample of United States Air Force trainees. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 18(4):416-423.
  • Little, M.A., Derefinko, K.J., Colvin, L., Ebbert, J.O., Bursac, Z., Talcott, G.W., Richey, P.A., & Klesges, R.C. (2015). The prevalence of e-cigarettes in a sample of US Air Force recruits. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 49(3):402-408.

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