I’m Erin Thomas Echols.

Atlanta-native. Sociologist. Health Scientist. Educator. Chocolate Addict. Gardening Novice.

Through my work at the CDC, I have experience with original research, data analysis, translation products and evaluation. For example, I recently used data housed in our center to write a paper about the positive effect of dispositional optimism on recovery and mental health following a disaster. I am also currently working with a team on several papers that look at the impact that Hurricane Sandy had on hospital admissions for HIV patients and on HIV testing.

In addition to original research, I have experience with collaborative team research projects. Through a cooperative agreement between UPMC and CDC, I have collaborated on a Community Checklist for Health Sector Resilience and proposed and managed an original animation to be released in conjunction with the checklist. This project involved working collaboratively alongside external researchers to provide project input and feedback, personally writing the animation script and managing a team of visual animation specialists, audio production staff and voice over talent to bring the animation project to life.

Prior to my position in OPHPR, I also worked in STD where I lead the evaluation of the branch’s technical assistance program. During this time I also assisted with national STD training and evaluation activities and conducted literature reviews to support guidelines development.

My graduate work has similarly focused on social science within public health. During my graduate career, I had the pleasure of working on an NIH and NSF-funded interdisciplinary research project investigating the health and quality of life implications of the recent public housing demolitions and relocations in Atlanta. In this position, I recruited and interviewed participants, managed and analyzed the data set and performed built environment assessments in the field in order to understand the impact the built environment has on the health and well-being of former residents. My dissertation work also capitalizes on my sociological knowledge to advance the goals of public health. My dissertation looks at barriers that people of color face in gaining lactation certification and the impact that has on breastfeeding equity.

My training and knowledge as a Sociologist have uniquely equipped me to understand how human health is influenced by social context and how research can help to promote effective policy. My skills in research, data management, evaluation and translation are well developed, as is my ability to synthesize complex information into clear, concise reports. I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects at the CDC and within academia and, as a result, I have gained valuable experience with all phrases of the research process. In my previous position as an instructor at Georgia State University, I have also refined my presentation skills and my ability to make important research accessible to broader audiences. My ability to curate, synthesize and communicate research was recognized when I was awarded the competitive position as the Sociology department’s Teaching Associate.

Specialties: Race and urban sociology, health equity research, social determinants of health, breastfeeding health equity, medicalization