Thistle I. Elias

Visiting Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

Phone: 412-624-5531

University of Pittsburgh


My research interests have largely been in the areas of community-engaged evaluation and research, social determinants of health, and health equity for populations by income, gender, ethnicity and dis/ability. The public health value of social justice drew me to community and behavioral health in the first place and I firmly believe that we have great opportunities within public health to make change.


Throughout the years I have worked on a variety of projects including evaluation of a two state child neglect prevention program with the American Academy of Pediatrics, local Early Head Start continuous quality improvement, a three year exploration of aging in public housing, a PA Dept of Health five year initiative to improve women’s health, and a range of smaller individual organizational and programs. Although I use mixed methods as appropriate, I am especially inclined towards using qualitative methods in community-engaged work.

I conduct evaluative research with the Evaluation Institute for Public Health at GSPH. I direct the Certificate for Health Program Evaluation and advise several students through their evaluation practica, in an effort to ensure quality learning in organizational settings. I sit on the Committee for the Certificate in Health Equity and am a faculty affiliate of the Center for Health Equity.

I have co-directed Bridging the Gaps-Pittsburgh for over a decade. This multi-disciplinary, community health internship program is in collaboration with the School of Medicine and aims to train health professional students while providing critical support to organizations that work with vulnerable populations.

I have provided ongoing health literacy and cultural sensitivity trainings to several local health care organizations and health professional continuing education programs.

I have been a reviewer for the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, and the Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice.




  • DrPH