John P. Elder, PhD, MPH, Core Investigator

JohnElder_SrCoreInvestigI got my Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1978 (West Virginia University) and first worked in rural mental health in Appalachia. However, I quickly became attracted to more upstream approaches to public health and moved on to begin a research career with the Pawtucket Heart Health Program at Brown University. At that same time, I did an MPH in international health at Boston University to gain a perspective beyond the chronic disease priorities of “Western” countries. In 1984, I moved to San Diego State University, where the new Graduate School of Public Health was advertising for someone with expertise in “applied behavior analysis”, the Skinnerian perspective within psychology. In 1987, I got my first two grants, Project SHOUT and Project Salsa, the latter with Greg Talavera who has been a professional partner ever since. At around that time I took over the leadership of SDSU’s Center for Behavioral Medicine, which is now the Institute for Behavioral and Community Health (IBACH).I have had 9 NIH-funded R01s and am the Director of the San Diego Prevention Research Center. My current research emphasis is on obesity prevention with Latino youth. These projects along with the collaboration of the excellent colleagues and students I’ve had at IBACH have yielded about 300 co-authored publications. I have also had the opportunity to work in over 30 countries around the world on infectious diseases and other problems of poverty, but I am proudest of IBACH having become one of the premier Latino community research and post-graduate education centers in the country.

I enjoy spending time with my friends, wife and adult children, watching the San Diego Padres and Nebraska Cornhuskers, and playing blackjack in Vegas. I also keep a large vegetable garden to remind me of my days as a farm boy.


Current Research Projects:


Curriculum Vitae
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For an up to date publications list see Google Scholar