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Shawna Mercer, MSc, PhD


Branch Chief and Director;
Guide to Community Preventive Services,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Dr. Mercer is Branch Chief and Director of the Guide to Community Preventive Services (Community Guide) within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Her work is focused on: engaging policy makers and practitioners alongside of researchers in building an evidence base for public health that is relevant to real world needs; and in supporting practitioners, policymakers, and others in identifying, selecting, and implementing evidence-based preventive services that fit their needs and constraints.  Dr. Mercer’s commitment to bridging the worlds of research, policy, and practice was forged in the mid 1980s when she served as the Evaluation Coordinator for the Ontario Breast Screening Program—one of the first population-based breast cancer screening programs in the world.  The Program was charged with taking the results of research studies showing that breast cancer screening decreased breast cancer deaths, and setting up a screening program that would produce similar results for all nine million eligible women in the province of Ontario, Canada. 
 Dr. Mercer has also held a number of other positions in CDC's Office of the Chief Science Officer, Public Health Practice Program Office, and Office on Smoking and Health, and at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  In these roles, she explored knowledge, attitudes, behavior and decision making surrounding breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer screening and genetic screening for cancer; physician and patient education and support needs surrounding cancer and AIDS; and the value of participatory research for bridging gaps between research and practice.  Dr. Mercer has a master's degree in health behavior from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada and a PhD degree in epidemiology from the University of Toronto.