Current Research Projects

WebQuit Plus

WebQuit Plus Study

Principal Investigators: Jaimee Heffner, PhD (contact PI); Michael Ostacher, MD 
Funding agency: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)

This purpose of the study is to develop and test a new website to help people who have bipolar disorder quit smoking.  The investigators are comparing quit rates of two groups, both utilizing Nicotine Replacement Therapy and a website, at four research sites; Bedford VA in Boston, Jefferson Center in Denver, Palo Alto VA, and Northampton VA.

Vet WebQuit

Vet WebQuit Study

Principal Investigator: Megan Kelly, PhD
Co-Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD
Funding agency: Department of Veterans Affairs

The goal of this study is to tailor an existing web-based tobacco cessation program for Veterans with mental health conditions.

Vet Flexiquit Study

Vet Flexiquit Study

Principal Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD and Megan Kelly, PhD
Co-Investigator: Maria Karekla, PhD
Funding agency: National Institutes of Health

The goal of this study is to adapt a web-based, avatar-led smoking cessation program for Veteran smokers at varying levels of readiness to quit. During the first phase of the study, our team will conduct user-centered design work to target the content of the program to Veteran’s preferences and needs.  In the second phase of the project we will conduct a pilot study to compare the new program (Vet Flexiquit) with an existing web-based cessation program for Veterans.

Safeway Project

Safeway Project

Principal Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD
Co-Investigator: Maria Karekla, PhD and Megan Kelly, PhD
Funding agency: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/UW Cancer Consortium, Safeway Early Career Award in Cancer Research

The aim of this study is to adapt a web-based smoking cessation intervention based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for sexual and gender minority young adults. During the first 6 months, our user-centered design process will focus on structuring this program to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ young adults. During the second phase of the study, we will test the acceptability and cessation outcomes of the new intervention in a single-arm pilot trial.




Principal Investigator: Steven Zeliadt, PhD
Co-Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD
Funding agency: Department of Veterans Affairs, HSR&D

The PROACT trial will evaluate the value of providing proactive behavioral and pharmacotherapy treatment to current smokers as part of participating in lung cancer screening. Tobacco treatment will be integrated with the reporting of the screening results. The PROACT trial is targeting current smokers who are participating in lung cancer screening at VA Providence and VA NY Harbor. Screening participants will be randomized to receive either standardized structured usual care with opt-out treatment accompanying their screening results or advice and unstructured assistance with tobacco treatment for those who request it.  


TALK Study

TALK Study 

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD
Co-Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD
Funding agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

This study compares two different groups receiving phone-delivered smoking cessation counseling. One group receives an ACT-based smoking cessation program the other group receives the current standard care delivered by a smoking cessation quitline. Working with quitlines in South Carolina and Louisiana, the study is in the process of enrolling over 1200 participants. The investigators will determine whether phone-delivered ACT has promise to improve quit rates compared to the current phone-delivered standard of care in smoking cessation quitlines.


iCanQuit Study

iCanQuit Study

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD
Co-Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD
Funding agency: National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Investigators are working on creating a better smartphone application program for helping adults quit smoking. This study compares two different smart phone apps, an ACT-based app vs an app based on the US Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Quit2Heal Study


Principal Investigator: Jonathan Bricker, PhD
Co-Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD
Funding agency: CVS Health Foundation

The goal of this pilot trial is to create a new smartphone application program to help cancer patients quit smoking. Our team is partnering with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) to develop a new smartphone app for cancer patients.  

Completed Research Projects

Actify Study

Actify Study

Principal Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD
Funding agency: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

This is a pilot trial with the main purpose of informing the development of an app for smokers with mild to moderate depressive symptoms. The investigators are testing user engagement and satisfaction of the Actify app. In addition, the study evaluates changes in smoking status, engagement in valued activities and changes in mood. 


LIFT Study

Principal Investigator: Jaimee Heffner, PhD
Funding agency: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)

The goal of the LIFT Study was to adapt an existing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based treatment manual to support smoking cessation for people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The pilot trial then tested the ACT based intervention in conjunction with open-label nicotine patch therapy to evaluate quit rates, study retention rates and treatment satisfaction rates. 

Mentoring Projects

Risky alcohol consumption

Melissa Gasser

Student Intern

Risky alcohol consumption and depression are common and often concurrent in young adults, particularly college students, and there is a need for low-cost, high-accessibility, evidence-based intervention options for this population. The aim of this research is to develop a version of the Actify app tailored to college students which would address both domains via the app's existing basis in brief Behavioral Activation treatment for depression (BATD), in combination with an integrated alcohol intervention. The development of this dual intervention will include a needs assessment to inform subsequent app adjustments followed by user-experience testing.


Web-based smoking intervention for socially anxious smokers

Noreen Watson, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Individuals with high levels of social anxiety are at least 2 times more likely to smoke cigarettes and are less likely to quit. The goal of this project is to design and build a targeted web-based smoking intervention for socially anxious smokers grounded in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). The intervention, called MyWebQuit, is being developed using clinical expertise, findings from previous research, and user-experience research methodologies such as qualitative interviews, usability studies, and diary studies. This will be the first intervention specifically designed to address the needs of socially anxious smokers.