Shannon Lea Watkins


Portrait of Prof. Shannon Watkins of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Title(s): Assistant Professor
Department: Community and Behavioral Health
Office: N418 CPHB
Phone: (319) 467-1489

Dr. Watkins is a scholar of public health whose work aims to illuminate social and structural barriers that individuals face in achieving their full health potential in order to inform efforts that promote health equity. Her current work investigates patterns of tobacco initiation, progression, product switching, and cessation, with specific interests in adolescent and young adults, non-cigarette tobacco products (e.g. e-cigarettes), characterizing flavors, and co-use with cannabis. This work informs interventions to promote cancer prevention and reduce tobacco-related health disparities. Another thread of research has focused on urban environments, particularly understanding social and environmental impacts of citizen engagement in caring for urban environmental resources and evaluating evidence, determinants, and outcomes of urban forest inequity. She approaches her research with an interdisciplinary lens and employs a variety of methodological approaches, including epidemiological and econometric techniques, qualitative methods, meta-analysis, and spatial analysis. A core component of her research program is engagement with public and policy stakeholders and public dissemination of her work.

Research Interests

  • Tobacco use
  • Cannabis use
  • Health and environmental equity
  • Youth and young adult health