University of Southern California
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Mary Ann Pentz, Ph.D.

Photograph of Mary Ann Pentz

Mary Ann Pentz, Ph.D., is a Professor of Preventive Medicine and Director of the Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research. She is the Co-Leader of the Cancer Control Research Program.

She received her B.S. in Psychology from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York in 1972. She received her M.A. in 1976 and her doctorate in Psychology in 1978 from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York.

For over a decade, Dr. Pentz’s research has focused on community and policy approaches to tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse prevention in youth. She has published widely in psychology, public health, and medical journals on the use of multi-component approaches to community-based prevention including those in the mass media. Her findings from longitudinal prevention trials contributed to the formulation of government regulation, including how funds are appropriated for prevention programs under the Safe and Drug Free Schools Act. Dr. Pentz has chaired the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Epidemiology and Prevention study section, has served on the evaluation advisory boards for CSAP’s Community Partnership grants program, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Fighting Back Initiative. She also served on the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Campaign Design Expert panel to design the new anti-drug abuse media campaign that Congress approved.