Distinguished Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair, University of Southern California

Jonathan M. Samet, a pulmonary physician and epidemiologist, is currently Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair for the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and Director, USC Institute for Global Health. He received an A.B. degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard College, before receiving the MD degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He also has an MS in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Samet has investigated diverse health issues using epidemiological approaches. His research has focused on the health risks of inhaled pollutants—particles and ozone in outdoor air and indoor pollutants including secondhand smoke and radon. He has also investigated the occurrence and causes of cancer and respiratory diseases, emphasizing the risks of active and passive smoking. He has served on numerous committees concerned with using scientific evidence for the development of policy to protect public health.

For several decades, he has been involved in global health, focused on tobacco control and air pollution. He currently chairs the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee of the U.S. EPA and also the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee.

He was appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board in 2011. Dr. Samet received the Surgeon General’s Medallion in 1990 and 2006, the 2004 Prince Mahidol Award for Global Health awarded by the King of Thailand, and the 2006 Public Service Award of the American Thoracic Society. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1997.


  • –present
    Distinguished Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair, University of Southern California