Gillings School Directory

Noel Brewer, PhD

Noel Brewer, PhD

Department of Health Behavior
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • T : (919) 966-3282
  • F : (919) 966-2921
  • E :
  • 325 Rosenau Hall
  • CB #7440
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  • USA

Dr. Noel T. Brewer’s research explores why people engage in vaccination, vaping and other health behaviors that prevent cancer. He has published over 300 papers on these topics including behaviors related to HPV vaccination and vaping warnings. He was one of the most cited researchers in the world (top 1%) from 2017-2019.

The Announcement Approach Training developed by Dr. Brewer and colleagues teaches providers to communicate more effectively about HPV vaccination and other vaccines for adolescents. Over 1,700 providers in 15 states have received the training. The National Cancer Institute designated it as an Evidence-Based Cancer Control Program, and the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics now recommend use of presumptive announcements when recommending HPV vaccine.

A large clinical trial by Dr. Brewer and colleagues found that pictorial warnings for cigarette packs help smokers quit. The findings informed a successful lawsuit by the American Medical Association and 7 other organizations to force FDA to implement the enhanced warnings that had been held up by a previous lawsuit. Implementation of the new warnings is now ongoing.

Dr. Brewer chairs the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable. He has advised on vaccination for the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the President’s Cancer Panel under two presidents, and the National Vaccine Advisory Committee. Dr. Brewer co-edited the FDA’s book, Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User's Guide.

Media coverage of his research includes the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR and CNN. He is proudest of the coverage by the Onion.

Over 40 students and 11 post-doctoral researchers have completed their training in his Health Cognition and Behavior Lab. Many of these trainees have moved on to postdocs and faculty positions at leading institutions.

Honors and Awards

Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher

2017 - 2019

Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty

2011, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Early Career Alumnus Award for Distinguished Accomplishments and Service

2010, Rutgers University

Representative Courses

HBEH 750: Applied Research Methods | Syllabus

Service Activities

Member, World Health Organization Working Group on Behavioral and Social Drivers of Vaccination

Member, Lancet Commission on Vaccine Acceptance in the United States

Member, Vaccine Confidence Working Group, National Vaccine Advisory Committee

Member, Vaccine Confidence Work Group, Board of Scientific Counselors, Deputy Director of Infectious Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Key Publications

Understanding why pictorial cigarette pack warnings increase quit attempts.  Brewer NT, Parada H Jr, Hall MG, Boynton MH, Noar SM, Ribisl KM (2018). Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Increasing vaccination: Putting psychological science into action. Brewer NT, Chapman GB, Rothman AJ, Leask J, Kempe A (2017). Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 18.

Announcements Versus Conversations to Improve HPV Vaccination Coverage: A Randomized Trial. Brewer NT, Hall ME, Malo TL, Gilkey MB, Quinn B, Lathren C (2017). Pediatrics, 139(1).

Effect of Pictorial Cigarette Pack Warnings on Changes in Smoking Behavior: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Brewer NT, Hall MG, Noar SM, Parada H, Stein-Seroussi A, Bach LE, Hanley S, Ribisl KM (2016). JAMA Internal Medicine, 176(7), 905-12.


PhD, Psychology, Rutgers University, 2002

MS, Psychology, Rutgers University, 2000

BA, Economics, University of California, 1993

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