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Public Health Epidemiology Conversations Podcast


Episode #32 Interview with Dr. Laurie Elam-Evans, Reproductive Epidemiologist at CDC

In this episode, I introduce you to Dr. Laurie Elam-Evans, who shares her journey into public health, as well as insights and helpful strategies and tips. Dr. Elam-Evans is the Lead Health Scientist and Team Leader for National Immunization Survey (NIS) Team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she has worked for over 27 years accumulating a wealth of public health knowledge and experience. She is also the current Chair of the American Public Health Association (APHA) Epidemiology Section. Be sure to listen to the full episode and explore the resource links shared below.

In this episode:

Dr. Elam-Evans shares her educational background.

  • Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Spelman College in Natural Science with a concentration in Health Science.

  • While at Spelman, with the help from her mentor Dr. Bill Jenkins, she completed an intensive summer program in biostatistics and epidemiology at the CDC, where she learned to become independent in her skill sets.

  • She completed her Masters in Public Health Degree (MPH) from Emory University in Epidemiology

  • PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill in Epidemiology, focusing on how reproductive wantedness relates to pregnancy outcome, as well as reproductive disparities among different populations

Dr. Elam-Evans has worked for the CDC for 27 years.

  • Her first job was as the reproductive health-prenatal care expert. She studied patterns of prenatal care disparities. She later looked at pregnancy related mortality.

  • Then she shifted focus to parent-natal transmissions of HIV, trying to identify risk factors for people with AIDS who don’t know how they became infected

  • She currently is the Lead Scientist for the National Immunization Survey. This survey monitors vaccination coverage for populations ranging from 6 months to 17 years.

  • She has also worked in behavior surveillance, reproductive health and adult-community health.

As Chair of the Epidemiology Section of the APHA, Dr. Elam-Evans is a strong advocate of joining the APHA

  • Important networking opportunities to talk to different people and learn about what’s out there in public health, especially in fields/institutions that are not your specific niche. Talking to people, going to seminars, join different professional organizations (such as APHA).

  • Offers panels and seminars to learn about different aspects of public health like: federal and state level epidemiology, academic research, pharmacy research, and consulting. Surround yourself with people not at your particular job or institution.

  • Opportunities for research, partnerships, and leadership roles.

Dr.Elam-Evans offers advice to people studying public health or transitioning into a career in public health

  • Seek internships while you are still in school to determine what you like and what you don't like, how things work, and how to work with others.

  • Experience is worth more than you can get paid for. Every opportunity is a learning opportunity and chance to build on skills.

  • Talk to people about their public health journey. Learn how they started out and how things have evolved for them.

  • Be active in organizations like the APHA.

Resource Links

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