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William McCarthy

Dr. McCarthy
Adjunct Professor


DepartmentsType of Faculty
Health Policy and ManagementFull Time
Contact Information

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health / Department of Health Policy and Management / A2-125 CHS

Dr. McCarthy has devoted most of his 30-year career to intervention studies designed to encourage members of special populations to adhere to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (African American adult women, low-income middle school students, low-income patients of community health centers) and to be smokefree (WIC participants, aerospace workers, Korean and South Asian immigrants). He has also conducted epidemiological investigations of tobacco use in special populations (adolescents, Asian subpopulations, residents of homeless shelters). Dr. McCarthy received the 1994 American Cancer Society Capitol Dome award for his career of public service and received the 1994 Health Fitness Leader award from the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. He received his research training at Yale University (Psychology Ph.D.) and the University of Illinois (Psychology, M.A.).

Teaching. Dr. McCarthy co-teaches "Obesity, Physical Activity and Nutrition" (HS M255 / CHS M234). He also teaches Psychology 298 -" Behavioral Determinants of Primary Prevention: An Intervention Approach."

Research. Dr. McCarthy co-directs the Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD) with Professor Ortega, which focuses on home and neighborhood environmental approaches to reducing heart disease risk in the mostly immigrant Mexican American residents of East Los Angeles. He also is currently chief evaluator of California's tobacco use education efforts in the state's public middle and high schools, as he has been for the previous 10 years. He and his colleagues examined telephone counseling and lay health worker modalities for providing low-cost, high-impact lifestyle counseling to low-income patients of local community health centers to reduce their risk of cancer and diabetes.

Service. He has been a member of and chaired regional and state committees on nutrition and wellness for the American Cancer Society. He continues to volunteer for the American Cancer Society, especially to promote public policies that promote more healthful lifestyle choices. He chaired a Health Advisory Committee for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District for 7 years. His enthusiasm for promoting healthful eating practices extends to his clothes. He has the sartorial distinction of wearing more fruit and vegetable-theme neck ties than any other faculty member. 

PhD, Psychology, Yale University
MA, Psychology, University of Illinois
Selected Publications: 
  • McCarthy WJ, Dietsch B, McReynolds B, Jones GS. The Feasibility of Mandating School Breakfast in California's Severe Need Schools: Costs, Challenges, and Recommendations. Final report prepared for the Nutrition Services Division, California Department of Education. January 2, 2008. Accessible at:
  • McCarthy WJ, Dietsch BJ, Dent C, Zheng H, Bono G, Bailey JD, Hanson TL. Evaluation of the In-School Evaluation of Tobacco Use Prevention Education Program, 2005-2006. Technical Findings and Documentation. Sacramento, California: Tobacco Control Section, California Department of Public Health. December, 2008. 261 pp. At:
  • Hopkins J, Glenn BA, Cole B, McCarthy, WJ, Yancey AK. Implementing Organizational Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Strategies on Paid Time: Process Evaluation of the UCLA WORKING Pilot Study. Health Education & Behavior. 2012; 27: 385-398.
  • McCarthy WJ, Meza R, Jeon J, Moolgavkar SH. Chapter 6. Lung cancer in never smokers. Epidemiology and risk prediction models. Risk Analysis, 2012; 32: S1.
  • Moolgavkar SH, Holford TR, Levy DT, Kong CY, Foy M, Clarke L, Jeon J, Hazelton W, Meza R, Schultz F, McCarthy W, Boer R, Gorlova O, Gazelle GS, Kimmel M, McMahon P, de Koning H, Feuer EJ. Impact of the reduction in tobacco smoking on lung cancer mortality in the U.S. over the period 1975-2000. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2012; 104: 541-548.
  • Mistry R, McCarthy WJ, DeVogli R, Patel M, Wu Q. Adolescent smoking risk increases with wider income gaps between the rich and poor. Health & Place. 2011, 17: 222-229.
  • Park H-Y, Dent C, Abramsohn E, Dietsch B, McCarthy WJ. Evaluation of California’s In-School Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) Activities using a Nested School-Longitudinal Design, 2003-2004 and 2005-2006. Tobacco Control. 2010; 19(Suppl 1): i43-i50. doi:10.1136/tc.2009.030700.
  • Roberts CK, Freed B, McCarthy WJ. Low Aerobic Fitness and Obesity Are Associated With Lower Standardized Test Scores in Children. Journal of Pediatrics. 2010; 156: 711-718. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.11.039
  • McCarthy WJ, Mistry R, Lu Y, Patel M, Zheng H, Dietsch, B. Density of Tobacco Retailers Near Schools: Effects on Tobacco Use Among Students American Journal of Public Health. 2009; 99: 2006-2013