Quyen Ngo-Metzger, MD, MPH


Professor, Department of Health Systems Science, Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, Pasadena, CA

Dr. Quyen Ngo-Metzger has extensive clinical and research experience with Asian and Latino immigrants. Drawing on her own experience as a first-generation immigrant, Dr. Ngo-Metzger founded a community health center in Chicago to serve Southeast Asian patients with significant language and cultural barriers. Her current research interests include measuring the health status and quality of care of limited-English proficient Asian and Latino patients with chronic diseases. Other interests include finding ways to improve health literacy and culturally-competent care for vulnerable populations. Dr. Ngo-Metzger was a recipient of the American Cancer Society Cancer Control Career Development Award for Primary Care Physicians, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Generalist Physician Scholar Award.

Dr. Ngo-Metzger received her medical degree in 1992, and residency training in Internal Medicine in 1995 at the University of Chicago in Chicago, IL. She completed fellowship training in General Internal Medicine at Harvard Medical School and her M.P.H. at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1999 as a CFHU Fellow.








December 12, 2012

Our congratulations to Quyen Ngo-Metzger, MD, MPH, Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellow in Minority Health Policy (1998-1999), who has been recently appointed as the Scientific Director for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  In this capacity, Dr. Ngo-Metzger will be the main government lead to provide guidance to the USPSTF and interact with the public and other agencies regarding the work of the Task Force. -- December 12, 2012

Effectiveness of Tobacco Intervention Programs in Minority Communities: A Critical Review of the Evidence


Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and a major public health issue.  Each year, it accounts for approximately 400,000 premature deaths.  Data from 1995 and 1997 showed that an estimated 47 million US adults and 4.7 million adolescents smoked cigarettes.  Tobacco use causes disease and premature death in every population, but certain racial/ethnic minority populations often bear a disproportionate share of the human and economic cost.  Furthermore, efforts at tobacco control and prevention have often not adequately reached these communities, especially those who are immigrants or have limited English proficiency. Discouraging data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that smoking prevalence increased in the 1990s among African American and Hispanic youths.  This is especially alarming after the trend of decline in smoking among adolescents of all racial/ethnic minorities in the 1970s and 1980s.

As federal, state, and private organizations develop their strategies for effective tobacco control programs among different racial/ethnic groups, more data are needed to guide their efforts.  What does scientific evidence reveal about the effectiveness of different interventions in diverse communities?  A systematic review of the available evidence is needed, along with recommendations that can guide federal and state governments and public health agencies in implementing tobacco programs targeted at minority populations.  This study is conducted as part of the development of the Guide to Community Preventive Services, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The Guide is being developed by an independent task force with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Its goal is to provide evidence-based reviews and recommendations on the use of population-health interventions.


An inclusive literature search was conducted for the period 1976-1998.  Our database is the result of a structured search of three electronic databases (Medline, EconLit, and Office of Smoking and Health-OSH), followed by reviewing each abstract individually.  Articles describing a tobacco intervention in ethnic minority populations were reviewed using a standardized study abstraction form.  The abstracted information includes descriptive information on the components and implementation of the intervention, characteristics of the study populations, and measurements of exposure and outcome.  The suitability of the study design and the quality of execution were also evaluated.  Evidence tables were drafted for each study, with evaluation scores for quality of execution (Good, Fair, Limited).  Two independent evaluations of each study were compared, and discrepancies of scores between independent reviewers were resolved by discussion and consensus.  Tobacco intervention strategies reviewed were:

  •     Increasing unit price of tobacco
  •     Multi-components, community-wide interventions
  •     School-based education programs
  •     Church-based education programs
  •     Youth access restrictions

The outcome of the study is to be used by the Coordination Team and the Consultation Team for the Tobacco Chapter of the Guide to Community Preventive Services in drafting recommendations.  Areas of insufficient evidence point to gaps of knowledge and further research that needs to be conducted in minority populations.

Faculty Preceptor:

David Hopkins, M.D., M.P.H., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention