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

Dr. Melissa A. Little is an associate professor of public health sciences and a member in cancer control and population health research in the Cancer Center at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on developing, evaluating and translating evidence-based health behavior and disease prevention interventions for underserved populations. Dr. Little has a growing research portfolio in reducing cancer health disparities in Appalachia through interventions to reduce health risk behaviors and promote vaccines and cancer screenings. She also has a line of research focusing on promoting tobacco cessation, substance abuse prevention and weight reduction among active duty military, retirees and dependents (i.e., family members).Dr. Melissa Ashley Little

Dr. Little is leading an R01 funded through the National Institute on Drug Abuse to examine behavioral and environmental influences on tobacco initiation and re-initiation among Air Force Technical Trainees following a period of forced abstinence (R01 DA043468, PI Little). She recently completed an evaluation of a brief tobacco intervention for young adults recently enlisted in the military, funded through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R21 DA042083, MPI Little/Talcott).

Associate 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
560 Ray C. Hunt Drive, Rm 2119
Charlottesville, VA 29903

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

Research Interests: Brief interventions targeting tobacco and alcohol-related behaviors; Rural health; Cancer disparities research; Dissemination and implementation research; Translational research

Current Funding:

  • Principal Investigator, Determinants of Tobacco Relapse and Initiation following a Period of Forced Abstinence in the U.S. Military: A Social Ecological Approach
    • Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    • Overall goal: Understand facilitators and deterrents of tobacco use following a period of forced abstinence.
  • Co-Investigator, Improving Uptake of Cervical Cancer Prevention Services in Appalachia
    • Agency: National Cancer Institute (NCI)
    • Overall goal: Increase cervical cancer screenings, HPV vaccinations and promote smoking cessation through health systems in Appalachia.
  • 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, 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:

  • Pebley, K., Murphy, J.G., Wang, X-Q., Talcott, G.Q., Klesges, R.C., McDevitt-Murphy, M.E., McMurry, T.L., Little, M.A. (In Press). Validity of the alcohol purchase task with US military personnel. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.
  • Pebley, K., Krukowski, R.A., Porter, K., Little, M.A. (In Press). Descriptive and Injunctive Norms Related to E-Cigarettes. Military Medicine.
  • Little, M.A., Fahey, M.C., Klesges, R.C., McMurry, T., Talcott, G.W. (2020). Evaluating the effects of a brief tobacco intervention in the U.S. Air Force. Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
  • Little, M.A., Pebley, K., Porter, K., Talcott, G.W., Krukowski, R.A. (2020). ‘I think smoking’s the same, but the toys have change.’ Understanding Facilitators of E-cigarette Use among Air Force Personnel. Journal of Addiction and Prevention, 8(1):7.
  • Fahey, M.C., Talcott, G.W., McMurry, T., Klesges, R.C., Tubman, D., Krukowski, R.A., Little, M.A. (2020). When, how, & where tobacco initiation and relapse occur during U.S. Air Force technical training. Military Medicine.
  • Fahey, M.C., Krukowski, R.A., Talcott, G.W., Little, M.A. (2020). JUUL Targets Military Personnel and Veterans. Tobacco Control.
  • Little, M.A., Ebbert, J.O., Krukowski, R.A., Kalpinski, R., Patten, C., Boothe, T., Pasker, C., Talcott, G.W., Klesges, R. (2020). Factors Associated with Cigarette Use during Airmen’s First Year of Service in the United States Air Force Military. Military Medicine, 185(1-2):e212-e220.