It's not clear if growing up in the shadow of Disney World in Orlando, Fla., spurred Dr. Thompson's passion for public health, but whatever it was she says she knew her calling way back in grade school. She followed her passion and three years ago landed her first faculty position at the Health Science Center in Fort Worth, where she and her husband now make their home. In March 2020, she was honored with the prestigious Judy K. Black Early Career Research Award from the American Academy of Health Behavior. A retired marathoner, Erika likes to run for fun, many might not know she's a burgeoning juggler, an amateur knitter and she's watched her favorite TV drama from start to finish, oh, about five times. Read on and get to know Erika.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Ever since I was a kid, even though I couldn't name it, I always had an interest in public health and it wasn't until like until undergrad that I could put a name to what it was I wanted to do. My favorite part of my job is the collaboration, collaborating with students and learning from students, and then also community members on the projects they work on. That’s probably my favorite part.
What is your proudest work moment?
I get excited whenever one of our students has a problem; I’m just thinking of when the MPH students graduated, even though we couldn't be there in person, it's those types of moments and seeing their achievements is what I enjoy the most.
What is your proudest non-work moment?
When I lived in Florida, I did a lot of running, like half-marathons and marathons, so that was exciting. I don’t do that anymore. During that time, I had done five or six half-marathons and a Disney marathon. Now, I just do it for exercise.
What is a fact about you that might surprise your colleagues?
I can barely juggle, and my grandma-style hobby is knitting. I can only knit two things, either a hat or a scarf.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE...
Book: I really like memoirs and non-fiction or biographies
TV show: I have probably re-watched the West Wing five times
Hobby: Taking walks on the Trinity River on the weekends