Before starting his Master of Public Health degree at Yale, Erik Willis earned his PhD in exercise physiology studying physical activity and weight management. He was a research coordinator for a National Institute of Health trial examining the effects of nine months of exercise on brain function using functional MRI models in individuals across the weight spectrum. Additionally, he studied the effectiveness of a population health-based intervention using Facebook and distance learning strategies for weight loss.
Now completing his MPH in the epidemiology and biostatistics track of the Advanced Professional Program, Erik has immersed himself in statistics, from design of clinical and behavioral studies to analytics. He has mined data extensively with Professor Melinda Irwin on exercise interventions for ovarian cancer survivors, as well as with Professor Jeannette Ickovics and the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) on obesity interventions for school aged children. Between sitting in on lab meetings, his statistical consulting class and practicum work, Erik feels much better equipped to engage in the process and data problem solving encountered in research trials. In most programs, he says, you do a project and get a grade. “At Yale, you can work with real data, collaborate with senior faculty and leave with publications in the pipeline.”
Erik attended the Yale School of Public Health as part of a multi-year fellowship in cancer prevention at the National Cancer Institute.