Erika Willacy is the Lead for Policy, Innovation and Communications within the Workforce and Institute Development Branch, Division of Global Health Protection, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this role, she oversees communication, curriculum development, and policy endeavors around workforce and institute development in global settings. In addition, she is responsible for exploring the use of new, innovative approaches to building public health institutional and workforce capacity through a more holistic, targeted approach to build range and enable systemic change to reinvigorate public health systems and improve health outcomes in low to middle income countries.
Ms. Willacy also serves as the Program Lead for CDC’s Improving Public Health Management for Action (IMPACT) training program, a sister program to FETP, designed to build management and leadership capacity. In her position, Ms. Willacy provides oversight and direction for the development, implementation, and evaluation of this applied public health management training program targeted at improving the health workforce in low to middle income countries.
Ms, Willacy is a behavioral scientist by training with education and experience rooted in health education, program development and implementation, health communications, health management leadership development, and intrapreneurship. Prior to her leadership of the IMPACT program, Ms. Willacy served as a consultant for Abt Associates and RTI International, a professor at North Carolina Central University, and as the Lead Health Education Specialist in the Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch at the CDC. In the latter role, she was responsible for planning and implementing training activities for an international network of physicians who screen immigrants and refugees. Further, she conducted research and developed new educational tools and strategies to communicate emergent health information to refugee populations.
During her time at CDC, Ms. Willacy has also supported numerous emergency response efforts; much of her work in this area targeted immigrant and refugee communities. Included in her emergency response activities during the 2014 Ebola crisis was her invention and leadership in the production of the Check and Report Ebola (CARE) Kit. The kit was designed to educate and ease the concerns of individuals returning from countries affected by the 2014 Ebola outbreak while ensuring they were properly tracked by health systems. The CARE Kit was profiled in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and several other notable publications. Ms. Willacy was also the recipient of a ClearMark Award of Distinction for this effort.
Ms. Willacy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychobiology from Wellesley College and a Master’s of Public Health degree in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan.