My Life as a Pracademic

by Allison Chamberlain, PhD, MS


In this post, Dr. Allison Chamberlain shares her experiences “playing on both teams” as a pracademic. Dr. Chamberlain is a faculty member at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and serves as an epidemiology consultant to the Fulton County Board of Health located in downtown Atlanta. This week she’ll be serving alongside her Fulton County colleagues in the health department’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as Atlanta prepares to host Super Bowl LIII this Sunday.

pracademic Allison Chamberlain

My work week goes like this: I spend Mondays at Emory, Tuesdays at the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH), Wednesdays at Emory, Thursday mornings at Emory and afternoons at FCBOH, and Fridays at FCBOH. Sometimes my weeks get tweaked (oh, like, say when the “big game” comes to town or when a big grant proposal is due), but by and large, that’s my routine. I have badges for both places, offices in both places, and favorite lunch spots in both places. But most importantly, I have colleagues in both places, students in both places, and research projects that straddle both.

In anticipation of Atlanta hosting the 2019 Super Bowl, Dr. Chamberlain made “preparedness for mass gatherings” the running theme for her Fall 2018 Public Health Preparedness course. In November 2018 she took her class on a tour of Mercedes-Benz stadium. Here her students learn from James Seagle, the stadium’s Public Safety Operations & Logistics Manager about what goes into keeping over 70,000 fans safe and healthy.

I am a full-time Research Assistant Professor in the Epidemiology Department at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health i