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Emily Smith - Baylor University . Waco, TX, US

Emily Smith Emily Smith

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology | Baylor University


Expert in epidemiology, public health and health economics





Emily Smith, Ph.D., epidemiology, public health, Baylor University loading image




Emily Smith is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health at the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University and an adjunct Assistant Professor of Global Health in the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) at Duke University. Her research interests include pediatric global surgery, health economics, and health systems strengthening in low-income countries. Before joining the faculty at Baylor, Dr. Smith was a research scholar at DGHI for two years. Dr. Smith received her PhD in epidemiology from the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC-CH and an MSPH from the University of South Carolina.

Areas of Expertise (14)


Health Economics

Global surgery

Public Health

Cost-effectiveness research

Health system strengthening

Maternal and child health


Pediatric Surgery

Comparative Effectiveness Research

Health Policy

Global Health



Media Appearances (19)

Texas Evangelical Women May Hold the Key To Herd Immunity

Reform Austin  online


Through her Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist Facebook page, Baylor epidemiologist Emily Smith, Ph.D., who is married to a pastor, mixes her scientific rhetoric with devout appeals that come from her religious credentials, reaching people who might otherwise be closed to hearing a different point of view on vaccines.

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Evangelical leaders explain why skeptical evangelicals should get vaccinated

Baptist News Global  online


Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant profess of epidemiology at Baylor who is known for her popular Facebook page Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist, joined Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, for a recent webinar hosted by the Facebook for Faith learning group to address the vaccine skepticism of white evangelicals.

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'What if it was your kid?': Parents of young children feel forgotten as CDC loosens mask restrictions

USA TODAY  online


Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Baylor, in quoted in this article about new CDC mask guidelines that she says have been “hard and confusing” for parents who are fatigued by making constant difficult decisions to protect their children from the virus.

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New data on COVID vaccine efficacy is good news for faith leaders seeking to be influencers

Baptist News Global  online


As faith leaders preach the public health benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines, they have additional support with a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Baylor University at Baylor University and faculty member at the Duke Global Health Institute, who blogs as the “Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist.”

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These Moms Work as Doctors and Scientists. But They've Also Taken On Another Job: Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation Online

TIME  online


Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Baylor whose popular Facebook page "Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist" provides a wealth of information on COVID-19 from the perspective of a scientist but also a wife and mother, is among a growing grassroots network of doctor and scientist moms who have emerged as key players in the online battle against vaccine misinformation.

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One year later, letting go of ‘what used to be’

Baptist News Global  online


Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health and author of a popular blog titled Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist, looks back at the past year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and the "dramatic shifting of the world."

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On social media, vaccine misinformation mixes with extreme faith

The Washington Post  online


Baylor epidemiologist Emily Smith, Ph.D., a Christian and married to a Baptist pastor, discusses COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and skepticism that has circulated throughout the evangelical community on social media. Smith also runs a popular Facebook page called Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist that is dedicated to discussing the virus.

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Flu calls in sick amid Waco area's preventive measures

Waco Tribune-Herald  online


This article about the reduction in the flu amid COVID-19 quotes Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology, whose blog and Facebook page "Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist" started as a platform for Smith to break down the science behind COVID-19 for friends and neighbors who began coming to her for guidance when the pandemic began.

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Baylor Connections: Emily Smith, Ph.D.

Baylor Connections  radio


AUDIO: To over 50,000 Facebook followers, she’s known as “Your Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist,” sharing accessible and actionable insights into the COVID-19 pandemic. Those followers, however, may not know that the Baylor professor behind that account is a leader in global health and an advocate for surgical care for children around the world. In this Baylor Connections, Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology, shares the story behind her highly-regarded social media outreach and takes listeners into the halls of the United Nations to understand the need for increased access to surgical care for children and their families.

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Local H-E-B Pharmacies Among Those Receiving First Doses Of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines This Week

Copperas Cove Leader Press  online


Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology, weighs in about the two new COVID-19 vaccines. Smith's website and Facebook page called "Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist" provide a wealth of information in layperson’s terms on the virus, its transmission and implications, along with the treatments.

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To the shepherds: Reframing Christmas in a pandemic

Baptist News Global  online


Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Baylor, writes in the midst of COVID-19 about reframing this 2020 Christmas according to the first Christmas: quiet, simple, not many people, calm.

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‘Love your neighbor’ approach to pandemic a focus of Waco-based expert behind Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist’

Waco Tribune-Herald  online


Baylor University epidemiologist Emily Smith, Ph.D., an expert on global health, is the blogger behind the Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist page on FaceBook, focusing much of her attention on COVID-19.

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The church has a role to play in implementing COVID vaccine

Baptist News Global  online


Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology, and Gaynor Yancey, Ph.D., professor of social work and director of the Center for Church and Community Impact, are quoted in this article about the role of the church on matters of public health and safety.

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Your friendly neighbor epidemiologist has an important message for you

Baptist News Global  online


Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology, is featured in this article about COVID-19 data and how faith and spirituality don’t have to conflict with science.

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What is herd immunity and could it help overcome the coronavirus?

KCEN-TV  online


VIDEO: Baylor epidemiologist Emily Smith, Ph.D., discusses COVI-19 and the topic of herd immunity.

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Local epidemiologist talks COVID-19 in kids, vaccine possibility and more

KCEN-TV  online


Baylor epidemiologist Emily Smith, Ph.D., discusses COVI-19, kids and the possibility of a vaccine.

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Local epidemiologist explains key issues with COVID-19

KCEN-TV  online


VIDEO: Emily Smith, Ph.D., an epidemiologist and assistant professor of public health, created a Facebook page – Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist – when the pandemic started to share easy-to-understand information about COVID-19.

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A discussion with epidemiologist Emily R. Smith, PhD.

Good / True / & Beautiful Podcast with Ashton Gustafson  


Emily Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology in Baylor University's department of public health, discusses coronavirus safety tips.

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COVID-19 is no flu, local epidemiologist says

KWTX-TV (Waco)  tv


Baylor Epidemiologist Emily Smith, Ph.D., says new studies coming out are proving COVID-19 is not like the flu. "It is not the flu, it is more contagious than the flu it can spread quicker than the flu and that data is just coming out," Smith said. She says this virus is two times as contagious as the flu, because it's new so people don't have immunity to it and because there is no vaccine.

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