Dr. Erika Thompson: Giving hope to women and children, advocating for Tarrant County’s most vulnerable families

By Sally Crocker

Dr. Erika Thompson

Dr. Erika Thompson was honored with the first-ever Hope Award from the Center for Transforming Lives (CTL) in 2021, recognizing her work as a researcher and community volunteer whose extraordinary efforts make a difference in the lives of women and children and Tarrant County’s most vulnerable families.

CTL provides housing, early childhood education, economic mobility and clinical counseling services to address families’ most critical needs and support mothers in creating long-term sustainability for their families.

Dr. Thompson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the HSC School of Public Health and Program Director for the school’s Maternal and Child Health MPH program concentration.

As a researcher, she works to find public health solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing children and their families. She partners with CTL and other local organizations, including the Health Equity Alliance of Tarrant County, Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County, Birth Equity Collaborative and the Tarrant County Family Homelessness Committee.

Dr. Thompson has been an invaluable partner in our research and advocacy work in recent years,” said Carol Klocek, CEO, in presenting the award. “She  and her team were instrumental in the development of a series of policy briefs in 2019 related to family homelessness that we use to educate and inform local stakeholders and elected officials.”

“Additionally, Dr. Thompson spearheaded a Journey Mapping project during which parents experiencing homelessness were interviewed and shared their personal stories,” she said.

This research has since been published in professional journals and presented at conferences related to both public health and family homelessness.

Bringing this research to a wider audience elevates the need for critical services across the country and honors the work of CTL. Dr. Thompson truly has a heart for women and children,” Klocek said.

She also noted that Dr. Thompson has been instrumental in developing CTL’s latest project, a survey of families living in motels and hotels in Tarrant County.

“She has forged multiple connections for CTL with other organizations in the community and with her colleagues in public health,” Klocek said. “Her work strengthens our ability to advocate for women and children in Tarrant County, and she gives us hope that we can affect positive change for the most vulnerable families in our community.

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