Dr. Virginia Ernster, Ph.D.

Virginia L. Ernster, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). She has served as Chair of her department at UCSF, as well as Associate Director of the UCSF Cancer Center and leader of its Tobacco Control Program. She has been a member of the National Cancer Institute's Board of Scientific Advisors and many other national committees. She has also served on the Board of the American College of Epidemiology, and has been on the editorial board of several medical journals.

Dr. Ernster has a long-standing interest in the effects of smoking on women's health and was Senior Scientific Editor of the 2001 Surgeon General's Report Women and Smoking. She chaired the Policy Advisory Committee of the NCI-funded COMMIT community intervention smoking cessation trial and was a member in 1998 of the NCI's Tobacco Research Implementation Group. She also has been actively involved in breast cancer research and was principal investigator of a project funded by the Nation Cancer Institute to establish a population-based mammography registry for San Francisco. In addition, she co-chaired a committee for the Institute of Medicine that in 2000 produced as comprehensive report on the Safety of Silicone Breast Implants. Her publications include work on the epidemiology of breast cancer and female lung cancer, cigarette advertising targeted to women, the health effects of smokeless tobacco use, mammography screening and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

For over two decades, Dr. Ernster co-directed the core course in Epidemiology and Biostatistics for medical students at UCSF, designed to instill skills for critical evaluation of the medical literature and the practice of evidence-based medicine. She received the Distinguished Teaching Award as well as other awards for excellence in teaching and in 1996 was the recipient of the Career Achievement Award of the UCSF Women's Faculty Association.