Dr. Erika Thompson elected as American Academy of Health Behavior secretary

Erika ThompsonDr. Erika Thompson, associate professor of population and community health at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Public Health, has been elected as secretary for the American Academy of Health Behavior.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce Dr. Thompson has been elected as secretary of AAHB,” said AAHB president Dr. Hsien-Chang Lin. “This position is the result of recognition and support from all full members of the academy, making it a remarkable achievement. We are very proud to have Dr. Thompson as our academy member.”

Thompson, who serves on the AAHB board of directors, was named as an AAHB Fellow in 2022. This distinction is based on research accomplishments, including academic record of publications, grants, presentations and contributions to the body of knowledge in health behavior, as well as service to and demonstrated involvement in the academy. Achieving this status is a rigorous process.

Thompson was presented with AAHB’s prestigious Judy K. Black Early Career Research Award in 2020, recognizing younger scholars expected to make major contributions to scientific knowledge and professional practice during their careers.

Her research focuses on HPV-related cancer prevention, primarily through vaccination, using mixed methods and community-engagement approaches. This work spans school-entry policies, alternative settings for vaccination and decision-making support tools.

Teaching, community engagement and volunteer service are also important parts of her work. She is involved with several North Texas organizations, including Tarrant County’s Center for Transforming Lives, the Health Equity Alliance of Tarrant County, Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County, Birth Equity Collaborative and the Tarrant County Family Homelessness Committee.

She was presented with the first-ever Center for Transforming Lives Hope Award in 2021, honoring her contributions in addressing the needs of Tarrant County’s most vulnerable mothers, children and families experiencing homelessness and in transition.

Thompson joined HSC in 2018. She served as director of the SPH maternal and child health Master of Public Health program concentration from 2019 to 2022. She received the HSC faculty achievement award in 2023.

Thompson holds a PhD in public health and an MPH degree in epidemiology, along with graduate certificates in biostatistics and maternal and child health epidemiology.

She said that once she attended her first AAHB conference in 2016, she knew she had found her “place and people.”

“I have since brought my doctoral students to AAHB in hopes that they, too, can find their academic home,” she said.

“Dr. Thompson is especially well deserving of this new AAHB leadership position,” said Dr. Shafik Dharamsi, SPH dean. “Her work is helping to advance the mission and development of the School of Public Health as we steer our course into the future through impactful research, collaborations and service to build healthier communities. We congratulate Dr. Thompson on her new appointment.”

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