Linda B. Cottler, PhD, MPH
Linda B. Cottler, PhD, MPH, is professor of epidemiology in psychiatry and director of the Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group. Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly on multi-site community-based efforts to reduce high-risk behaviors associated with HIV and other STDs, substance abuse, and other comorbidities that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations.
A graduate of the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis College of Nursing and Allied Health, Cottler later earned degrees from Emmanuel College in Boston and from the Boston University School of Public Health. In 1987, she earned a doctorate in sociology at Washington University.
She began working at Washington University in 1980 as project coordinator for Lee N. Robins, Ph.D., professor emeritus of sociology in psychiatry, on the landmark Epidemiological Catchment Area study — the first North American study of the prevalence of mental illness in the general population.
She joined the psychiatry faculty in 1988, the year she partnered with the St. Louis City Health Department to open a National Institutes of Health-funded community site that provided St. Louisans with access to HIV/STD testing, food-pantry referrals, clothing and other assistance. At that site, Cottler’s team launched studies in which they evaluated the effectiveness of peers to deliver interventions to stop or reduce substance use. She has expanded her community-focused research to women at risk for HIV in India, and female offenders in St. Louis.
Now, Cottler’s community outreach continues through the new CTSA Center for Community Based Research, which she directs. She and her team will be initiating HealthStreet — a community-based site — to link underrepresented populations to research opportunities throughout Washington University.
Cottler is author of more than 180 scientific papers and book chapters; she is a past president of the Academic Women’s Network at the School of Medicine. Her research has been honored by the Missouri Public Health Association; her outstanding mentoring has been recognized by Washington University’s Academic Women’s Network and the Postdoc Society.