Donna Shelley at [NYU Langone Health]

Donna Shelley, MD

  • Specialty: Internal Medicine
  • Language: English
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About Me

Since childhood, I’ve wanted to become a doctor. I initially pursued a career as a full-time primary care physician, but while practicing, I decided to get a master’s degree in public health. This decision changed everything.

During my master’s program, I learned how I could have an impact at the population level, so I decided to leave medicine to serve as director of the Tobacco Control Program at the NYC Department of Health. After building the program and achieving many of my goals, including passing new cigarette taxes and smoke-free air policies, I decided to return to the academic research environment. In this setting, I’ve been able to pursue my passion for tobacco control through research and clinical practice.

As the founder and director of NYU Langone’s Tobacco Cessation Program at Perlmutter Cancer Center, I help people who have nicotine addiction quit smoking. Patients come to me because they want a tailored approach to quitting. Some of them have cancer, but many do not.

When I work with patients, I combine behavior counseling and medication management. I develop a very personalized treatment plan for each person—no two people are the same, so no two people will quit smoking in the same way. I work with patients for as long as they need.

Smoking is a chronic addiction, so people may not successfully quit on their first try. I aim to provide patients with a supportive and non-judgmental environment. I understand the relapsing nature of nicotine addiction and encourage them to keep trying until they succeed.

I am active in several nicotine addiction studies that are funded by the National Cancer Institute. In one study, I am taking what we’ve learned about smoking cessation in New York City and applying it to community health centers in Vietnam. In another study, I am working with lung cancer screening programs to take advantage of that window of opportunity to help people to quit smoking.

I am a member of the Society for Nicotine and Tobacco Research and AcademyHealth.


  • Professor, Department of Medicine
  • Professor, Department of Population Health
  • Co-Director, Section for Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Board Certifications
  • American Board of Internal Medicine - Internal Medicine, 1989
Education and Training
  • Fellowship, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Endocrinology, 1990
  • Residency, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Internal Medicine, 1989
  • MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1986

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NYU Langone Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center

221 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Research My Research

Research Summary

Positions and Honors

Professional Memberships

1990-Present  American College of Physicians

1991-2002      American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)

1996-Present  Academy Health

1999-Present  American Public Health Association

2004-Present  Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT)

2012-2015  SRNT, Board Member Disparities Committee


1982    Phi Beta Kappa, University of Pennsylvania Certifications

1986    Upjohn Award for Clinical Excellence

1986    Alpha Omega Alpha, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Contribution to Science

1. My body of research targets reducing health disparities among vulnerable populations, with a specific focus on the content domain of smoking cessation/cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and on the methodological domain of implementation science. My work has advanced the domain of    implementation science by generating evidence for effective strategies to enhance integration of tobacco use treatment and CVD prevention guidelines into routine primary care settings serving disparate populations. Early work funded by AHRQ (1R18HS017167-01), and conducted in a Practice Based Research Network in NYC, was the first to demonstrate that linking primary care settings to a tobacco cessation Quitline through a fax-based referral system increased provider adherence to tobacco use treatment guidelines and increased smokers’ uptake of evidence-based treatment (telephone counseling and pharmacotherapy).  I have extended this work to include dental public health care settings to fill gaps in adoption of guidelines in settings serving patients at highest risk for tobacco-related morbidity and mortality (1R01CA162035-01). I recently received a R01 NCI to analyze strategies for optimizing implementation of smoking cessation services in lung cancer screening programs. Institute (R01CA207442-01). I have extended my interest in implementation science to include implementation of guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease more broadly. I was recently awarded an AHRQ R18 to recruit 250 primary care sites to study the effectiveness of practice facilitation on increasing adoption of Million Hearts guidelines for optimizing cardiovascular health. I served as either PI or Multiple PI on all of these studies.

  • Shelley D, Cantrell J. The effect of linking community health centers to a state-level smoker’s quitline on rates of cessation assistance. BMC Health Serv Res. 2010;10:25. PMCID: PMC2823740
  • Sherman S, Link A, Rogers E, Krebs P, Ladapo, JA, Shelley D, Fang Y, Wang B, Grossman E. Smoking cessation interventions for urban hospital patients: A randomized comparative effectiveness trial. Am J Prev Med. In press2016 Oct;51(4):566-77. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.06.023. PMID: 27647057
  • Shelley D, Goldfeld K, Park H, Mola A, Sullivan R, Austrian J.  System Changes to Implement the Joint Commission Tobacco Treatment (TOB) Performance Measures for Improving the Treatment of Tobacco Use Among Hospitalized Patients. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2017 May;43(5):234-240. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2017.02.008. PMID:28434457
  • Ostroff J, Henschke C, Li Y, Shelley D, Copeland A, Borderu S. Readiness of lung cancer screening sites to deliver smoking cessation treatment: Current practices, organizational priority and perceived barriers. Nic Tob Res. 2015 Sep 7. pii: ntv177. [Epub ahead of print]


2. My goal to expand my implementation research to disparity-impacted populations worldwide is reflected in my R01 from the NCI, which aims to compare strategies for implementing tobacco use treatment guidelines throughout Vietnam’s public health system (1R01CA175329-01). This work promises to extend the impact of my research in studying efforts to reduce the global burden of non-communicable diseases.

  • Shelley D, Cleland C, VanDevanter N, Nguyen L, Nguyen N. Implementing tobacco use treatment guidelines in Community health centers in Vietnam. Implementation Science. 2015;10(1):142. doi: 10.1186/s13012-015-0328-8. PMCID: PMC4600252
  • Shelley D, Nguyen L, Pham H, VanDevanter N, Nguyen N. Barriers and facilitators to expanding the role of community health workers to include smoking cessation services in Vietnam: a qualitative analysis. BMC Health Serv Res. 2014 Nov 26;14:606. doi: 10.1186/s12913-014-0606-1. PMCID: PMC4247125
  • VanDevanter N, Kumar P, Nguyen N, Nguyen L, Nguyen T, Stillman F, Weiner B, Shelley D. Application of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to assess factors that may influence implementation of tobacco use treatment guidelines in the Viet Nam public health care delivery system. Implement Sci. 2017 Feb 28;12(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s13012-017-0558-z
  • Nguyen N, Nguyen T, Chapman J, Nguyen L, Kumar P, VanDevanter N, Shelley D. Tobacco cessation in Vietnam: exploring the role of Village Health Workers. Glob Public Health. 2017 Aug 4:1-11. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2017.1360376


3.  In addition to the contributions to CVD prevention and implementation science described above, my work is advancing implementation theory development and validation (i.e., understanding not only what works but where and why across multiple contexts). My contributions to the field of implementation science include a 2009 Health Services Research paper that first demonstrated the potential for the chronic care model, a systems-level quality improvement framework, to enhance provider delivery of guideline recommended tobacco use treatment.  Another recent paper was the first to examine the impact of the organizational culture of primary care clinics on adherence to evidence-based guidelines for treating tobacco use. I am currently analyzing data from the two NCI funded implementation studies that will further advance our understanding of factors that influence adoption, implementation and dissemination of evidence based guidelines into practice across multiple settings. 

  • Iwelunmor J, Blackstone S, Veira D, Nwaozuru U, Airhihenbuwa C, Munodawafa D, Kalipeni E, Jutal A, Shelley D, Ogedegebe G. Toward the sustainability of health interventions implemented in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and conceptual framework. Implement Sci. 2016 Mar 23;11(1):43. doi: 10.1186/s13012-016-0392-8 PMCID: PMC4804528
  • Hung DY, Leidig R, Shelley D. What's in a setting? Influence of organizational culture on provider adherence to clinical guidelines for treating tobacco use. Health Care Manage Rev. 2014;39(2):154-63. PMID:23636103
  • Hung D, Shelley D. Multilevel Analysis of the Chronic Care Model and 5A Services for Treating Tobacco Use in Urban Primary Care Clinics. Health Serv Res. 2009 Feb;44(1):103-27  PMCID: PMC2669639
  • VanDevanter N, Kumar P, Nguyen N, Nguyen L, Nguyen T, Stillman F, Weiner B, Shelley D. Application of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to assess factors that may influence implementation of tobacco use treatment guidelines in the Viet Nam public health care delivery system. Implement Sci. 2017 Feb 28;12(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s13012-017-0558-z PMCID: PMC5330005

4.More recently, my work has included studies using mobile technology to reduce CVD risk. This work is exemplified a NIDA R34, which is the first study testing the use of a text message intervention alone and in combination with telephone counseling to treat nicotine addiction among patients people living with AIDS and other comorbid conditions (R34DA031636).

  • Shelley D, Tseng T, Gonzales M, Krebs P, Sherman S, Wong S, Schoenthaler A, Urbina A, Cleland C. Correlates of adherence to varenicline among PLWHA. Nic Tob Res. in press.
  • Duncan DT, Regan SD, Shelley D, Day K, Ruff RR, Al-Bayan M, Elbel B. Application of global positioning system methods for the study of obesity and hypertension risk among low-income housing residents in New York City: a spatial feasibility study. Geospatial Health 2014:9 (1): 57-70. PMCID: PMC4767499
  • Shelley D, Tseng T, Gonzales M, Krebs P, Sherman S, Wong S, Schoenthaler A, Urbina A, Cleland C. Correlates of adherence to varenicline among PLWHA. Nic Tob Res. 2015:8:968-74. PMCID: PMC4580547

5.Finally, my work as had significant impact on tobacco- related policies and programs for minority and immigrant populations. A 2007 paper in AJPH was the first to document growth in the illegal cigarette market in low income, minority communities in response to a large NYC cigarette tax increase, and to elucidate mechanisms by which living in minority communities may influence smoking and illegal purchasing patterns following tax increases. This article led the NYC DOHMH to modify its annual Community Health Survey to capture underground cigarette markets. In addition, my NIH-funded work on smoking prevalence in the Chinese community, filled large knowledge gaps regarding the impact of cigarette policies in a large immigrant population.

  • Shelley D, Cantrell MJ, Moon-Howard J, Ramjohn D, Vandevanter N. The $5.00 man: the underground economic response to a large cigarette tax increase in New York City. Am J Pub Health. 2007;97(8):1483-8. PMCID: PMC1931477
  • Shelley D, Ngyuen N, Fahs M. Increasing access to evidence-based smoking cessation treatment: effectiveness of a free nicotine patch program among Chinese immigrants. J Immigr Minor Health. 2008 2010 Apr;12(2):198-205. PMCID: PMC5065177
  • Shelley D, Ogedegbe G, Elbel B. Same Strategy Different Industry? Corporate Influence on Public Policy. Am J Pub Health. 2014;104(4):e9-e11. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301832. PMCID: PMC4025679
  • Shelley D, Fahs M, Yerneni R, Das D, Hung D, Ngyuen N, Chin M, Chang MY, Cummings KM. Effectiveness of tobacco control among Chinese Americans: a comparative analysis of policy approaches versus community-based programs. Prev Med. 2008;47(5):530-6. PMCID: PMC2643380

Research Support


National Cancer Institute (Thorpe/Shelley) - 12/15/17-12/1/22

Goal: to evaluate the impact of the smoke free housing policy in New York City public housing authority

NCATS U01TR00 (2008 Shelley/Berry) - 8/17/17-8/16/21

Measurement development to accelerate translational research

Goal: To develop a practice assessment tool that is predictive of high quality CVD care

Fogarty International R21CA225852-02 (Shelley/Nguyen) - 8/15/17-8/14/19

Feasibility and acceptability of a text message intervention in Vietnam                                          

Goal: To test the feasibility and acceptability of a text message intervention

National Cancer Institute 1R01 CA207442-01 (Ostroff/Shelley) - 08/9/16-07/31/21

Optimizing Tobacco Treatment for Smokers Seeking Lung Cancer Screening

Goal: To compare different approaches to treating tobacco use in the context of lung cancer screening using a MOST design.

AHRQ 1R18HS023922-01 (Shelley) - 5/01/15-4/30/18

Using Practice Facilitation in Primary Care Setting to Reduce Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

Goal: To test the impact of practice facilitation on adoption of evidence based guidelines for preventing and treating CVD and on related patient level outcomes.

NCI 5R01CA175329-02 (Shelley and Nguyen) - 9/30/13-8/31/18               

Implementing Tobacco Use Treatment Guidelines in Vietnam

Goal: To compare the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of two strategies to implement tobacco use treatment guidelines in community health centers in Vietnam.

NIH/NIDCR-DE025992-01 (Saxena) - 4/1/2016-3/31/2020   

Modulation of oral microenvironment by E-cigarette aerosol mixtures

Goal: to use in vitro and in vivo methods to assess oral health effects of e-cig aerosol.

Role: CoI

NYSDOH, Bureau of Tobacco Control C029608  (Shelley) - 7/01/14-6/30/19                                

Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free NY                                                                            

Goal: To provide health systems change to health care organizations regarding the treatment of tobacco use.

NCI 5R01CA1562035-03 (Shelley and Ostroff) - 4/01/12-3/30/18   

Implementing Tobacco Use Treatment Guidelines in Dental Public Health Clinics

Goal: To compare the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of three strategies to implement tobacco use treatment guidelines in dental public health clinics.


NCI P30 CA016087-33S1 (Carroll) - 3/01/14–2/29/16                                  

Alternative Tobacco Products: Use, Adverse Effects and Communication Patterns   

Goal: To assess current use of alternative tobacco and nicotine delivery products among young adults.

Role: Co-Investigator

NIDA 5R34DA031636-02 (Shelley) - 8/01/12-7/31/15            

Improving Adherence to Smoking Cessation Medication among PLWHA

Goal: To test the feasibility and preliminary effect of text message support vs telephone counseling to increase adherence to smoking cessation medication and smoking abstinence.

NHLBI 1U01HL105229-01 (Sherman) - 9/10-5/15

Effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions for urban hospital patients Goal: The purpose of our proposed study is to examine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a smoking- cessation intervention for patients at two urban hospitals.

Role: Co Investigator

UL1TR000038 (Shelley) - 11/15/13-03/31/15           

Assessing the Use of Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as a Harm Reduction Strategy

Goal: To examine the feasibility of using e-cigarettes as a method for harm reduction and the effects of providing e-cigarettes (or placebo e-cigarettes) on smoking outcomes.

1 R34 DA031636-01A1 (Shelley) - 5/1/12-4/30/15

Improving adherence to smoking cessation medication among PLWHA

Goal: To pilot test and compare three strategies for improving adherence to tobacco use treatment among PLWHA and improve cessation outcomes.

Academic Contact

Academic office

227 East 30th Street

Seventh Floor

New York, NY 10016



Research Interests Timeline

These focus areas and their associated publications are derived from PubMed and the MeSH term library.
represents one publication


  • Doran, Kelly M; Rahai, Neloufar; McCormack, Ryan P; Milian, Jacqueline; Shelley, Donna; Rotrosen, John; Gelberg, Lillian

    Drug & alcohol dependence. 2018 May 22; 188:328-333

  • Shelley, Donna; Blechter, Batel; Siman, Nina; Jiang, Nan; Cleland, Charles; Ogedegbe, Gbenga; Williams, Stephen; Wu, Winfred; Rogers, Erin; Berry, Carolyn

    Annals of family medicine. 2018 Apr; 16(Suppl 1):S21-S28

  • Qualitative post intervention assessment of implementation effectiveness and sustainability of strategies for implementing tobacco use treatment guidelines in the Vietnam public healthcare system [Meeting Abstract]

    VanDevanter, Nancy; Vu, Milkie; Trang Nguyen; Nam Nguyen; Shelley, Donna

    Implementation science : IS. 2018 MAR 28; 13:?-?

Read All Publications (96)