Dr. Erica C. Spears
Assistant Professor, Health Behavior and Health Systems
Education & Experience:
I completed a postdoctoral fellowship, focused on social epidemiology, at the Center for Health Ecology and Equity Research at Auburn University. I earned a Doctorate in Health Education from the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University. While at Texas A&M, I also completed an Advanced Research Methods Certification for Social Sciences. I earned a Master’s degree in Speech Communication, with an emphasis in Health Communication, from the University of Houston. As an undergraduate, I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations, from Louisiana State University. Before returning to school to pursue a doctoral degree in 2013, I worked in public health practice. My experiences as a practitioner range from adolescent health educator to maternal and child health program manager.
Teaching Areas & Public Health Interests:
Currently, I teach Injury and Violence Prevention, Health Communication and Public Health Practice Experience. My teaching focuses on the social determinants of health and health disparities. I began my career as an educator by developing a course on eHealth and Telemedicine. I have also taught Race, Ethnicity and Health and Social Determinants of Health. As a practitioner, one of my primary responsibilities was to train practitioners on public health tenants and various evidence-based practices. I bring these experiences to the classroom and work to ensure my students understand the implications of their work on the wellbeing of the communities they are called to serve, regardless of their area of expertise.
Professional Activities & Awards:
I am an active member of both the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM). Recently, I was a selected scholar for Robert Wood Johnson’s final New Connections cohort, the Intersectional Qualitative Research Methods Institute (IQRMI), and the Collaborative Center for Health Equity’s Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI).
My research is focused on addressing health disparities observed in preventable chronic conditions within communities of color. The majority of my work focuses on health knowledge, health communication and social constructs that may serve as barriers to health promoting behaviors. For example, I utilized a mixed-methods approach to study health knowledge and perceptions of risk that may contribute to the disparate rates of type 2 diabetes observed in the African American community. I have also explored the roles of built environment, socioeconomic positioning and psychosocial stressors on negative health outcomes in marginalized communities.
This page was last modified on December 7, 2020