BYU alumnus and Salt Lake City native Erik Nelson joins the BYU Department of Public Health faculty after teaching for five years at Indiana University Bloomington.
Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree in public health education at BYU. After taking undergraduate classes in health and geographic information system mapping, he chose to pursue graduate work in epidemiology as a way to study both subjects together. He attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, receiving his master’s degree and PhD in epidemiology.
Nelson’s areas of expertise include spatial statistics, lead exposure, physical activity, sexual health, and infectious diseases. His current research examines stress in the natural environment and measures lead exposure in children. “I love that I have the skills to attack any new problem, such as a global pandemic, but also to work on traditional problems that have been around a long time like smoking and sexually transmitted infections,” Nelson says.
One of Nelson’s personal taglines is “More friends, more fun.” He often tries to meet new people by involving others in his projects, training students, and networking. Nelson enjoys paying forward the good that many professors gave him. “I love the energy of young minds in a classroom and challenging them to do hard things,” he says.