Sonia A. Duffy

Dr. Sonia Duffy, Professor

Sonia A. Duffy, PhD, RN, FAAN

Division of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction (Div. II)
Room 3178

University of Michigan School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Telephone: (734) 647-0326
Fax: (734) 647-0351

Scholarly Expertise / Activity


  • Cancer prevention and control
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Health behaviors
  • End-of-life issues
  • Quality of life

With an interest in cancer prevention and control, Dr. Sonia Duffy’s program of research focuses on how cognition influences health behaviors. In particular, Dr. Duffy is interested in the relationship between depression and health behavior change including smoking, alcohol use, diet, physical activity, and sleep. Dr. Duffy conducted a novel, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based intervention that was aimed at addressing the combined issues of depression, smoking cessation, and alcohol use among head and neck cancer patients. Ultimately, her findings indicated that treatment of comorbid depression can enhance cessation rates and currently, the efficacious aspects of this intervention are being disseminated in an implementation trial. As a continuation of this successful investigation, web-based applications of this same intervention with nurse enhanced follow up are currently being tested.

Current Research Grants and Programs:

  • VA HSR&D, Co- Principal Investigator. “Life Goals Collaborative Care to Improve Health Outcomes in Mental Disorders”; 10/1/2011 – 12/31/2014.
  • VA HSR&D, Co- Principal Investigator. “Improving Depression Management Through Peer Support”; 4/1/2009 – 3/31/2013.
  • VA HSR&D, Co-Principal Investigator. “Risk of Death among Veterans with Depression”; 9/15/2011 – 9/14/2014.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, Principal Investigator. “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Sun Protection Interventions for Operating Engineers”; 9/1/2012 – 2/28/2014.
  • NIH/NCI, Principal Investigator. “A Randomized Control Trial of Tobacco Tactics for Operating Engineers”; 10/1/2011 – 9/30/2013.
  • VA HSR&D, Principal Investigator. “Evaluation of Peer Telephone Cessation Counseling for Smokers”; 4/1/2012 – 3/31/2013.
  • NIH/NHLBI, Principal Investigator. “Dissemination of Tobacco Tactics for Hospitalized Smokers”; 10/1/2010 – 9/30/2014.
  • NIH/NINR, Co-Director. “Health Promotion/Risk Reduction Interventions with Vulnerable Populations”; 7/1/2010 – 6/30/2013.
  • NIH/NCI, Co-Principal Investigator. “The Molecular Basis of Head and Neck Cancer Biology, Treatment and Prevention”; 7/1/2008 – 6/30/2013.
  • NIH, Principal Investigator. “Recruitment of HIV-Positive Inpatients to the Tobacco Tactics Intervention”; 10/1/2012 – 9/30/2013.
  • VA HSR&D, Principal Investigator. “Integrating Tobacco, Drinking, and Depression into the STOP Stroke Tool”; 4/1/2013 – 3/31/2014.


Dr. Duffy has mentored students in a variety of disciplines including nursing, medicine, and public health. She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level (Utilization of Nursing in Advanced Practice, Interventions with Aggregates and Communities, Health Promotion Intervention Research Across the Lifespan, Community Assessment),  and participates in dissertation committees. While she does not adhere to any particular teaching philosophy, she relies certain teaching principles such as linking learning with positive experiences, using evidenced-based examples, emphasizing major concepts, supporting different learning styles, incorporating research, commitment to diversity, bolstering self esteem, and assisting with career development.

Affiliations / Service

  • Sigma Theta Tau, National Honor Society in Nursing
  • Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
  • Tobacco Research Network, University of Michigan

Notable Awards / Honors

  • Florence Nightingale Award for Nursing Research, 1st Runner-Up, Oakland University, 2001
  • National Cancer Institute Pre-doctoral Fellowship Award, School of Public Health, University of Illinois, 1993
  • Emile Gleason Sargent Award, Leadership in Public Health Nursing Award, University of Michigan, 1985
  • Member, Mortar Board, Wayne State University, 1978
  • U.S. Traineeship Award, Wayne State University, 1977
  • Sigma Theta Tau, National Honor Society in Nursing, Wayne State University, 1977


  • PhD, Public Health, University of Illinois, Chicago, Il, 1999
  • MSN, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1985
  • BSN, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 1978

Publication Highlights

  • Arthur A.E., Peterson K.E., Rozek L.S., Taylor J.M., Light E., Chepeha D.B., Hebert J.R., Terrell J.E., Wolf G.T., Duffy S.A., and the University of Michigan Head and Neck Cancer SPORE Team. (In Press). Pretreatment dietary patterns, weight status, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma prognosis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  • Noonan D., Duffy S.A., Jiang Y. (In Press). Utility of biochemical verification of tobacco cessation in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Addictive Behaviors.
  • Russo N., Wang X., Liu M., Banerjee R., Goto M., Scanlon C., Metwally T., Inglehart R., Tsodikov A., Duffy S., van Tubergen E., Bradford C., Carey T., Wolf G., Chinnaiyan A.M., D’Silva N.J. (In Press). A novel approach to biomarker discovery in head and neck cancer using an autoantibody signature. Oncogene.
  • Duffy S.A., Ewing L.A., Welsh D.E., Flanagan P.S., Waltje A.H., White R.A., Breedveld S., Young E.W. (In Press) Employee attitudes about moving toward a smoke-free campus at a Veterans Affairs hospital. Journal of Addictions Nursing.
  • Shuman A.G., Terrell J.E., Light E., Wolf G.T., Bradford C.R., Chepeha D., Jiang Y., McLean S., Ghanem T.A., and Duffy S.A. (In Press). Predictors of pain among head and neck cancer patients. Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.
  • Kao T.A., Gibbs M., Clemen-Stone S., Duffy S.A. (In Press). A comparison of family interventions to address adolescent risky behaviors: A literature review. Western Journal of Nursing Research.
  • Duffy S.A., Choi S.H., Hollern R., Ronis D.L. (In Press). Factors associated with risky sun exposure behaviors among Operating Engineers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
  • Vick L., Duffy S.A., Ewing L.A., Rugen K., Zak C. (In Press). Implementation of an inpatient smoking cessation program in a Veterans Affairs facility. Journal of Clinical Nursing.
  • Duffy S.A., Cohen K.A., Choi S.H., McCullagh M.C., Noonan D. (In Press). Predictors of obesity in Michigan Operating Engineers. Journal of Community Health.
  • Choi S.H., Redman R.W., Terrell J.E., Pohl J.M., Duffy S.A. (2012). Factors associated with health-related quality of life among Operating Engineers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 54(11), 1400-1405.
  • Duffy S.A., Louzon S.A., Gritz E. (2012). Why do cancer patients smoke and what can providers do about it? Community Oncology, 9(11), 344-352.
  • Noonan D., Duffy S.A. (2012). Smokeless tobacco use among Operating Engineers. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 23(2), 132-136,.
  • Colacino J.A., Arthur A.E., Dolinoy D.C., Sartor M.A., Duffy S.A., Chepeha D.B., Bradford C.R., Walline H.M., McHugh J.B., D’Silva N., Carey T.E., Wolf G.T., Taylor J.M., Peterson K.E., Rozek L.S. (2012). Pretreatment dietary intake is associated with tumor suppressor DNA methylation in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Epigenetics, 7(8), 883-891.
  • Duffy S.A., Ronis D.L., Titler M.G., Blow F.C., Jordan N., Thomas P.L., Landstrom G.L., Ewing L.A., Waltje A.H. (2012). Dissemination of the nurse-administered Tobacco Tactics intervention versus usual care in six Trinity community hospitals: study protocol for a comparative effectiveness trial. Trials, 13, 125.
  • Duffy S.A., Munger A., Karvonen-Gutierrez C.A., Piette J.D., Kao T.A. and Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 11 Tobacco Tactics Team. (2012). Post-discharge tobacco cessation rates among hospitalized veterans with and without diabetes. Diabetic Medicine, 29, e96-e101.