Erika A. Waters, PhD, MPH
Professor of Surgery
MS, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (Social Psychology), 2003
PhD, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (Social Psychology), 2006
MPH, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD (Epidemiology), 2007
Post Doctoral Education
Cancer Prevention Fellow: National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, 2006-2009
My research bridges the gap between epidemiological and clinical science on the one hand and health decision making by the public on the other. To accomplish this, I seek to gain an in-depth understanding of how people think about health risks and how those thoughts influence their health-related decisions and behavior. Specifically, I explore the rich variety of cognitive, emotional, and social factors that make it difficult for people to use health risk information effectively and to make decisions that benefit their health. Understanding these inter-relationships enables me to develop health communication and behavior interventions that help people understand complex health information and act in ways that benefit their health. My ultimate goal is to contribute to the reduction of cancer and other health disparities. I also have a strong focus on community outreach and education. I have given several radio interviews, have spoken at cancer prevention and control fundraisers, and have assisted in disseminating the 8 Ways to Stay Healthy and Prevent Cancer via health fairs and employer-sponsored health events.
Dr. Waters also has a strong focus on community education and outreach. She has given several radio interviews, has spoken at cancer prevention and control fundraisers, and has assisted in disseminating the 8 Ways to Stay Healthy and Prevent Cancer via health fairs and employer-sponsored health events.
Currently, Dr. Waters has four primary research projects:
- Exploring how caregivers of children with asthma think about their child’s risk of having an exacerbation.
- Examining how internet-based health risk calculators, such as Your Disease Risk, can be used to affect people’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors, including their possible role in alleviating health disparities.
- Understanding the causes and consequences of laypeople’s uncertainty about their risk of cancer and other diseases.
Understanding how, why, and under what circumstances people’s medical treatment decisions are influenced by the risk of experiencing medication side effects.
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