Dr. Aashir Nasim


Office of the Provost
(804) 828-1345


PhD (2001) in Developmental Psychology, Howard University

Biographical Statement

Aashir Nasim received his PhD in Developmental Psychology from Howard University in 2001. Dr. Nasim joined Virginia Commonwealth University as an Associate Professor of Psychology and African American Studies. He is a Health Disparities Scholar for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Dr. Nasim formerly served as Chair of the Department of African American Studies and is also Director of the emerging Institute for African American Mental Health (IAM) in VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences.

Research Interests 

Dr. Nasim's research centers on the social epidemiology of substance use and abuse among African Americans. A central research aim has been to determine how certain theoretical and methodological conceptualizations of resilience contribute to our understanding of the onset and progression of substance use behaviors from childhood to adulthood in African Americans. Following from this aim have been two primary research objectives which are to distinguish between the promotive and protective effects of sociocultural factors on adolescent substance use; and, to better understand the functionality of protective factors in buffering risks for substance use and abuse. At present, Dr. Nasim has funding from several federal and state agencies to include the National Cancer Institute and the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.

Representative Publications

Dick, D., Nasim, A., Edwards, A.C., Salvatore, J., Cho, S.B., Adkins, A., et al. (in press). Launching a longitudinal study of genetic and environmental influences on substance use and emotional health at a large US university. Frontiers in Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics.
Nasim, A., Blank, M.D., Cobb, C.O., Berry, B., Kennedy, M.G., & Eissenberg, T. (2014). How to freak a Black & Mild: A multistudy analysis of YouTube videos illustrating cigar product modification. Health Education Research, 29, 41-57.

Nasim, A., Cobb, C. O., Blank, M. B., & Eissenberg, T. (in press). Adolescent former cigarette smokers’ vulnerability to other tobacco products. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse.

Breland, A., Nasim, A., Irons, J., & Koch, J. R. (2013). Tobacco use among African American adolescents receiving behavioral healthcare services. Journal of Behavioral Health Service & Research, 40, 88-96.

Cobb, C. O., Khader, Y. S., Nasim, A., & Eissenberg, T. (2013). A multi-year survey of waterpipe and cigarette smoking on a U.S. university campus. Journal of American College Health, 60, 521-527.

Nasim, A., Blank, M. D., Cobb, C. O., & Eissenberg, T. (2012). A multiple indicators and multiple causes model of alternative tobacco use. American Journal of Health Behavior, 37, 25-31.

Nasim, A., Blank, M. D., Cobb, C. O., & Eissenberg, T. (2012). Patterns of alternative tobacco use among adolescent cigarette smokers. Drug and Alcohol Dependence124, 26-33.

Nasim, A., Khader, Y. S., Blank, M. D., Cobb, C. O., & Eissenberg, T. (2012). Trends in alternative tobacco use among light, moderate, and heavy smokers in adolescence, 1999-2009. Addictive Behaviors37, 866-870.

Nasim, A., Blank, M. D., Berry, B. M., & Eissenberg, T. (2012). Cigar use misreporting among youth: Data from the 2009 Youth Tobacco Survey, Virginia. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, 9, 1-12.

Blank, M. D., Nasim, A., Hart, A. J., & Eissenberg, T. (2011). Acute effects of cigarillo smoking. Nicotine & Tobacco Research13, 874-879. 

Recent Courses

African American Child Development (Graduate)

Modes of Inquiry in African American Studies (Undergraduate)

Recent Grants


P50 DA036105 (Eissenberg & Balster, Center Co-PIs) 09/2013-08/2018 
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products
Project 4: Quantitative and qualitative methods for modified risk tobacco product evaluation 
Project 4 Director: Nasim Project 4 Direct costs: $701,846
The overarching goal of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products is to demonstrate empirically an integrated, iterative modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) evaluation model that uses analytical lab, human lab, randomized clinical trial, and quantitative and qualitative methods to inform tobacco product regulation across all product types.


R21CA161317-01A1 (Nasim, PI) 09/01/2012 – 08/31/2014
NIH/National Cancer Institute / U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Project title: Cigarillo smoking: smoke toxicant content and user toxicant exposure and effects
Direct costs: $275,000 
The goal of this project is to use a combination of newly developed analytical laboratory and clinical methods to study cigar smoking in young adults.


Research Grant (Nasim, PI) 07/01/2012 – 06/30/2015
Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth
Project title: Evaluation of Virginia Tobacco and Obesity Prevention Programs
Direct costs: $398,000
The goal of this project is to assess the effectiveness of youth tobacco and obesity prevention in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 


1R01CA120142 (Eissenberg, PI) 02/21/2008-01/31/2013
NIH/National Cancer Institute
Project title: Waterpipe tobacco smoke: toxicant exposure and effects
The goal of this project was to understand the cardiovascular and physiologic effects of waterpipe smoking. 


5R03DA027619 (Chen, PI) 10/01/2009-09/30/2012
NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse 
Project title: Variants in nicotine receptors and pharmacogenetics 
The goal of this project was to investigate whether genetic variants impact on human nicotine response.


R324A100160 (Sullivan, PI) 04/01/2010-03/31/2013
Institute of Education Sciences
Project title: Promoting social, emotional, and behavioral competence in adolescents with disabilities: A school-wide inclusive violence prevention model. The goal of this project was to develop a comprehensive school-based violence prevention program for middle school students that includes individual- and school-level components.


Research Grant (Nasim, PI) 02/01/2010-06/30/2012
Virginia Youth Tobacco Projects
Project title: Cigarillos, Youth, and YouTube®: A content analysis of smoking videographies 
The goal of this project was to conduct a descriptive content analysis on the characteristics and features of a sample of smoking videographies that promotes cigarillo use and culture.