Skip to main content
Back to Top


Pam Ling




Pam Ling is a Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, where she conducts research on tobacco, media, and social marketing with an emphasis on young people.  Her work focuses on understanding how tobacco marketing encourages youth and young adults to initiate tobacco use, and counter-engineering these strategies to improve tobacco control programs.  This work includes analyses of thousands of previously secret tobacco industry documents detailing marketing strategies targeting young adults.  She has special interest in young adult smoking, the global proliferation of U.S. tobacco marketing strategies, marketing to women and other vulnerable populations, and how marketing encourages the use of multiple tobacco products and the use of tobacco with other substances such as alcohol and marijuana.  She has another line of research devoted to understanding the messages and impact of marketing of smokeless tobacco products and other new and alternative tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.  Her goal is to use market research strategies to improve clinical, policy, and public health interventions.  Dr. Ling leads a large multi-center trial funded by the NIH/National Cancer Institute State and Community Tobacco Control Initiative to evaluate novel counter-marketing interventions to decrease tobacco use among young adults in bars and nightclubs.  She also directs the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Training Program at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF.   Dr. Ling’s clinical work is in general internal medicine as a primary care physician.  Pam Ling is also known for her role as a housemate on MTV’s The Real World, San Francisco in 1994.  The show featured Pedro Zamora, a 22 year old AIDS educator whose story established a milestone in AIDS awareness among the general public.  Since 1994, Pam has been active in HIV/AIDS education programs and other health programs affecting young people, and her work continues to address the interface between media and health.  Dr. Ling received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard/Radcliffe in History and Science, and her MD from the UCSF School of Medicine.  She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital Primary Care program with an emphasis on young people and AIDS clinical care.  She received her Masters degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley.