Gillings School Directory

Noel Brewer, PhD

Dr. Noel Brewer

Noel Brewer, PhD

Gillings Distinguished Professor in Public Health
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
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 supported efforts by FDA to implement the enhanced existing warnings.

Dr. Brewer advises on vaccination for the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He advised 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, BBC and NPR. 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 - 2020


2019, Association for Psychological Science

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

2011, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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

Ways that mental health professionals can encourage COVID-19 vaccination. Brewer, N. T., & Abad, N. (in press) JAMA Psychiatry.

HPV vaccine communication training in healthcare systems: Evaluating a train-the-trainer model. Brewer, N. T., Mitchell, C. G., Alton Dailey, S., Hora, L., Fisher-Borne, M., Tichy, K., & McCoy, T. (2021). Vaccine, 39.

Provider communication and HPV vaccine uptake: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Oh, N. L., Biddell, C. B., Rhodes, B. E., & Brewer, N. T.  (2021). Preventive Medicine, 148(106554).

Progress in HPV vaccine hesitancy. Brewer, N. T., Gilkey, M. B., & Thompson, P. (in press) Pediatrics.

Reactions to messages about smoking, vaping, and COVID-19: Two national experiments. Grummon, A. H., Hall, M. G., Mitchell, C. G., Pulido, M., Mendel, J. R, Noar, S. M., Ribisl, K. M., & Brewer, N. T. (in press) Tobacco Control.


PhD, Psychology, Rutgers University, 2002

MS, Psychology, Rutgers University, 2000

BA, Economics, University of California, 1993

Recent News