Baylor epidemiology prof finds niche answering common COVID-19 questions on Facebook
Since 2017, Dr. Emily Smith has taught courses on global health in Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. She has a Ph.D. from North Carolina and an adjunct position at the Duke Global Health Institute. She’s also married to a Baptist pastor and has two small children.
Online, that all comes together in Smith’s persona as “your friendly neighbor epidemiologist,” where she combines her scientific training and her faith to answer questions like “is COVID-19 like the flu?”, “how should churches navigate the pandemic?” and “can we open schools safely?” for a general audience.
Smith’s lay-friendly, data-based explanations have attracted nearly 9,000 followers on Facebook, where her tone comes across “like talking to a really smart neighbor who just might be the nicest person you ever met,” as Baptist News Global put it.
“I am fighting to represent Jesus well by taking care of the people most in need,” Smith explains. “As an epidemiologist whose work is motivated greatly by my faith, my career has been anchored around helping the most vulnerable. I’ve often called the field of epidemiology, ‘the field of the Good Samaritan.'”
Some of her most popular posts cover mask-related myths, COVID-19 risk factors, and how Christians can lead the way out of this pandemic. You can find a complete table of contents to her posts here.
Outside of the pandemic, Smith’s research interests include global health, global surgery, pediatrics and health economics, and her work has often taken her to such places as Uganda, Nigeria and Latin America.
Sic ’em, Dr. Smith!