James Butler III, Associate Professor
Associate Professor, Behavioral and Community Health
Campus: UMD | Building: School of Public Health | Room: 1234Y
Phone: (301) 405-0757 |

Dr. Butler’s research is anchored in an ecological framework that incorporates individual, social structure and environmental influences in understanding and eliminating tobacco-related health disparities.  He is dedicated to building ongoing and permanent relationships with community members for the purpose of designing and conducting interventions where the community participates fully in all aspects of the research process. Dr. Butler is a behavioral scientist with more than 17 years of experience carrying out community engaged research and practice with African Americans. Moreover, he has extensive experience conducting qualitative research including focus groups and in-depth interviews. Dr. Butler completed postdoctoral training in cancer prevention and tobacco control; focusing on strategies for recruiting and retaining African American public housing residents in cluster-randomized clinical trials. Further, he is a Graduate Fellow in Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials and the Principal Investigator of a National Cancer Institute-funded Career Development Award to Promote Diversity (K01); where this research agenda examined the smoking cessation needs of African American public housing residents and the requisite strategies for engaging the residents in smoking cessation research.

Education and Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship - Cancer Prevention and Tobacco Control, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, KS, 2000 – 2003. Advisor: Jasjit S. Ahluwalia, MD, MPH, MS.

Dr.P.H. - Health Services Administration, Department of Health Services Administration, Division of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1999. Dissertation, Being there: Exploring the fatherhood experiences and beliefs of low-income urban African American males.

M.Ed. - Community Health Education, Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 1994. Masters Essay, Eating habits of inner city preschool African American children: History and future.

B.H.S. - Clinical Laboratory Science, Gwynedd-Mercy College, Gwynedd Valley, PA, 1991. Area of Concentration, Clinical Microbiology.

A.A.S. - Medical Laboratory Technology, With Honors. Community College of Philadelphia, PA, 1986.

Diploma - Medical Laboratory Technology, Franklin School of Science and Arts, Philadelphia, PA, 1974.


HLTH 140: Personal and Community Health

HLTH 391: Making a Difference: Applying Community Health

SPHL 610 Program and Policy Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation


Honors and Awards

2016 - present - Fellow, Academy for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (AETL), University of Maryland, College Park. Individuals are selected as Academy Fellows via peer review. An Academy Fellow remains one as long as his or her affiliation continues with the University of Maryland.

2016; 2017; 2018 - Most Valuable Professor (M.V.P.). Student-athletes are asked to nominate a professor that they feel went “above and beyond the call of duty” and is someone who “stands out” as a memorable professor to them. Two student-athletes from the University of Maryland Wrestling Team individually nominated Dr. Butler to receive an M.V.P. certificate, which was presented at the wrestling match between the University of Maryland and Rider University on February 20, 2016.

2015 - Exceptional Educator Award, The Academy for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (AETL), University of Maryland, College Park. This award is given by the AETL to recognize exceptional University of Maryland teachers. The AETL is a group comprised of faculty members from all disciplines committed to providing quality education to University of Maryland, College Park students.  

2014; 2015 - Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award (Nominated). The Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award acknowledges outstanding achievement in mentoring by recognizing University of Maryland – College Park faculty who have made exceptional contributions to a student’s (or students’) graduate education experience. This Award serves the dual purposes of recognizing outstanding mentoring provided by individual faculty and of reminding the university community of the signal importance of mentoring to graduate studies.

2014 – 2015 - Undergraduate Studies Faculty Fellow (formally Lily Fellows), Office of Undergraduate Studies, University of Maryland, College Park. Faculty Fellows participate in a faculty learning community that considers the challenges and opportunities of teaching large enrollment courses and seeks to understand and define these courses as uniquely important for student success. Fellows receive $4,000 in recognition of their contribution to improving undergraduate learning.

2014 - Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)/Pfizer Early Career in Public Health Teaching Award (Nominated). This award recognizes one full-time, graduate, public health faculty from a Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)-accredited member-school or -program of public health who is early in his or her career and notable for teaching excellence.

2013 – 2014 - Scholar, The Inaugural ADVANCE Program for Inclusion Excellence, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, University of Maryland (UMD), College Park. This year-long career development and leadership training program responds to the UMD goal of supporting faculty excellence, advancing faculty diversity, and creating a strategic network of faculty of color.

2012 - Graduate Fellow in Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials, 12th Annual Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials. Sponsored by the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Institute includes intensive twelve-day training in the planning, design, and execution of randomized clinical trials involving behavioral interventions.

2009 - Recipient, African American Alumni Council, Blue, Gold, and Black: The Color of Achievement Award for Pride, Progress, and Partnership with The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

2008 - 2009 - FellowCareer Education and Enhancement for Healthcare Research Diversity Program (CEED), Institute for Clinical Research Education, The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA. The CEED Program included the following coursework: Research Design and Development Seminar (CLRES 2071 & 2072); Medical Writing and Presentation Skills (MEDEDU 2140); Course in Scientific Management and Leadership (OACD Workshop).

2005 - 2010 - Health Disparities Research Scholar, NIH Loan Repayment Program. The program is a peer-reviewed, competitive grant process supporting health disparities research across various disciplines.







Selected Publications

Chen JC, Choi K, Kirchner TK, Feldman R, Butler J, Mead E L (2019). Flavored Cigar Smoking among African American young adult dual Users: An ecological momentary assessment. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 196, 79-85.

Kidanu A, Butler J, Dyer TV (2019). Assessing the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of hookah smoking among Ethiopian and Eritrean Americans. Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved, 30, 378-391.

Iles I, Nan X, Ma M, Feldman R, Butler J, Wang MQ, Zhao (2018). Self-affirmation and defensive processing of graphic cigarette warning labels among African Americans. Health Education Journal, doi:10.1177/0017896918805129.

Butler J, Fryer CS, Garza MA, Quinn SC, Thomas SB (2018). Commentary: Critical Race Theory Training to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities: The Public Health Critical Race Praxis Institute. Ethnicity and Disease, 28(1), 279-284.

Mead EL, Lindstrom Johnson S, Siddiqui J, Butler J, Kirchner T, Feldman RH (2018). Beyond blunts: Reasons for cigarette and cigar use among African American young adult dual users. Addiction Research and Theory, 26(5), 349-360.

Butler J, Fryer CS, Ward E, Westaby K, Adams A, Esmond SL, Garza MA, Hogle J, Scholl LM, Quinn SC, Thomas SB, Sorkness CA (2017). The health equity leadership institute (HELI): Developing workforce capacity for health disparities research. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 1(3), 153-159.

Mayfield-Johnson S & Butler J (2017). Moving from pictures to social action: An introduction to photovoice as a participatory action tool. New Dimensions for Adult and Continuing Education: Practical Insights, 154, 49-59.

Mead EL, Lindstrom Johnson S, Siddiqui J, Butler J, Kirchner T, Feldman RH (2017). Beyond blunts: Reasons for cigarette and cigar use among African American young adult dual users. In press, Addiction Research and Theory.

Garza MA, Quinn SC, Li Y, Assini-Meytin L, Casper E, Fryer CS, Butler J, Brown NA, Kim K, Thomas SB (2017). The influence of race and ethnicity on becoming a human subject: Factors associated with participation in research.  Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 7, 57-63.

Passmore SR, Fryer CS, Butler J, Garza MA, Thomas SB, Quinn SC (2016). Building a “deep fund of good will”: Reframing research engagement.  Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 27(1), 722-740.

Fakunle D, Milan AJ, Furr-Holden CD, Butler J, LaVeist TA (2016). The inequitable distribution of tobacco outlet density: The role of income in two black mid-Atlantic geopolitical areas. Public Health, 136, 36-40. 2016:doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2016.02.032.

Fryer CS, Passmore SR, Maietta R, Casper E, Brown NA, Butler J, Garza MA, Thomas SB, Quinn SC (2015). The symbolic value and limitations of racial concordance in minority research engagement. Qualitative Health Research, 1-12. DOI: 10.1177/1049732315575708.

Mayfield-Johnson S, Rachal J, Butler J (2014). “When we learn better, we do better”: Describing changes in empowerment through photovoice among community health advisors in a breast and cervical cancer health promotion program in Mississippi and Alabama. Adult Education Quarterly, 64(2), 91-109. DOI: 10.1177/0741713614521862.

Butler J, Quinn SC, Fryer CS, Garza MA, Kim K, Thomas SB (2013). Characterizing researchers by strategies used for retaining minority populations: Results of a national survey. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 36(1), 61-67.

Quinn SC, Butler J, Fryer CS, Garza MA, Kim KH, Ryan C, Thomas SB (2012). Attributes of researchers and their strategies to recruit minority populations: Results of a national survey. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 33(6), 1231-1237.

Quinn SC, Garza MA, Butler J, Fryer CS, Casper E, Thomas SB, Barnard D, Kim K (2012). Improving informed consent with minority participants: Results from researchers and community surveys. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 7(5), 44-55. PMCID: PMC3685140

Butler J, Fryer CS, Reed EA, Thomas SB (2011). Utilizing the school health index to build collaboration between a university and an urban school district. Journal of School Health, 81(12), 774-782.