Public health is my passion.
My passion for public health started as a pre-schooler. On the playground, I eagerly warned other kids not to stick their fingers in the spaces between the links on the chains suspending the swings. I warned them that if they failed to heed my advice that they risked injury and might even require a (much dreaded) tetanus shot. While I eventually came to realize that not everybody appreciated my unsolicited (albeit sound) advice, to this day, I'm a public health maven.
Since my days as kid, pestering my peers about the dangers of playground equipment, I've matured into an adult, pestering my peers about the dangers of various public health concerns like, emerging infectious diseases or enthusiastically supporting public health programs like, improving immunization systems. Even in my spare time, as a community member, I've put together factsheets to educate my neighbors on how to control rats; as a volunteer with Baltimore City's CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), I identified communication resources to help educate the public about the danger of Zika Virus Disease and how to prevent Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.
After nearly 15 years with a not-for-profit consulting firm, leading or making significant contributions to dozens of projects for clients, primarily federal agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), I resigned in an effort to reassess my career and better align my professional goals, personal strengths, and family needs.
In order to learn about fixing things and making things better, I learned how to identify problems and assess and evaluate potential solutions academically. After completing my undergraduate degree at Hampshire College, I went on to pursue a master of public health degree at Yale University.
After some academic training, I worked to fix maternal and child health programs and make better maternal and child health policies in Washington, DC. After a fellowship doing advocacy research at the Children's Defense Fund I started up and directed the National Association of County and City Health Officials' (NACCHO's) maternal and child health project.
Working in Washington, DC, it became increasingly clear to me that my academic training had not sufficiently equipped me to fix public health programs or make better health policies--not at least as well I wanted. The more I looked, the more I recognized that the success or failure of public health programs and policies was--more often than not--resulted from unknown factors.
So back to school! In my doctoral program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, I focused on developing qualitative methods expertise with which to better understand how public health programs and policies work in order to make them better. In the end, my dissertation concluded that a lot of the time, academic theories purported to explain policy development don't accurately reflect what happens in the real world.
I the process of finishing my dissertation, I was hired by RTI International, a not-for-profit research firm as a public health research analyst. While with RTI, I led or made significant contributions to dozens of projects for clients, primarily federal agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).
After nearly 15 years researching and evaluating topics such as immunization infrastructure, vaccine finance, emerging infectious disease preparedness and response, obesity prevention, opiate addiction treatment program accreditation, and public health training, I resigned in an effort to demonstrate my commitment to public health in ways that I found more meaningful.
In the process of clarifying my professional goals and aligning them with my personal ones, an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease emerged in West Africa. In the midst of a casual meeting with staff at Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) it became apparent that my background in evaluating emerging infectious disease preparedness and response programs and policies could be useful to support CCP's active involvement in USAID's response to Ebola. Within six months, my position as Ebola Reaseareh Manager was eliminated following shifts in funding.
Christine Layton has more than two decades’ experience assessing approaches to improve public health policies and programs. She is particularly interested in assuring that systems meet the needs of vulnerable populations including children, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
She received her undergraduate degree from Hampshire College and continued on to receive her masters’ degree in public health (MPH) from Yale University’s School of Public Health. Following a fellowship with the Children’s Defense Fund she managed the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ Maternal and Child Health Project before she returned to graduate school for a doctoral degree (PhD) from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Following receipt of her doctoral degree, she worked as a research consultant for RTI International for fifteen years.
My curriculum vitae details my academic and professional background. In summary, in addition to having earned a PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School (and an MPH from Yale – hello!) of Public Health, I am:
- Experienced. Through two decades’ professional experience working in not-for-profit research firms (RTI International), academia (Johns Hopkins University), professional membership organizations (National Association of County and City Health Officials), and advocacy groups (Children’s Defense Fund), I have gained valuable insights into public health systems, policies and practice.
- A systems-oriented thinker. I like to untangle complex problems by identifying all the components related to the problem; identify key questions and then use rigorous evidence to draw meaningful insights.
- Communicative. I present information—qualitative or quantitative--in clear, straightforward language for a range of audiences. I enjoy opportunities to present information in creative ways such as by developing illustrations or developing webinars.
- Collegial. I enjoy working with other people, gaining insight into what they do, and making people laugh once in a while. My ideal work environment is one with a common goal where collaboration is valued.
- Curious. As much as I’ve learned from my education and professional and personal experiences, I’m always interested in learning more. I particularly appreciate opportunities to travel to learn from others in their own environment.
- Generous. As much as I enjoy gaining knowledge; I enjoy sharing my knowledge. I am eager to share my experience and expertise with colleagues or others who may benefit.
- Skilled. Proficient in MS Office (Mac and Win OS) and NVivo; Experienced with SPSS and ATLAS.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Ph.D., Department of Health Policy and Management,1999
Yale University School of Public Health
M.P.H., Health Policy and Management, 1990
B.A., School of Communications and Cognitive Sciences, 1988
• Emerging infectious disease preparedness and response
• Maternal and child health policies and programs
• Immunization program financing and policies
• Emerging infectious disease preparedness and response
• MImmunization and Vaccine
Policy analysis and strategic planning
• Group facilitation and decision support
• Qualitative and mixed methods