Erica Spotts, Ph.D.

Erica SpottsErica Spotts, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator

Erica L. Spotts, Ph.D., is a health scientist administrator. She was previously a program officer in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), where she was hired to lead the Behavior Genetics portfolio. In that capacity she was integral to the efforts to conduct genome-wide scans on 20,000 subjects of the Health and Retirement Study, as well as more fully develop the genetics portfolio for BSR. During her tenure at NIA, Dr. Spotts also initiated and developed the Family and Interpersonal Relationship portfolio, and oversaw the Health Disparities portfolio, which included funding the fourth wave of the Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) program.

Dr. Spotts brings an interdisciplinary background with her to OBSSR. She earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from The George Washington University. She went on to complete her post-doctoral training at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institute. The focus of her research and publications has been on using behavioral genetic methods to better understand the dynamic relationships within families, and how those relationships, particularly marital relationships, influence mental health.

Dr. Spotts is interested in catalyzing the integration of genetics and genomics with behavioral and social science to better understand individual differences in health and health behaviors. She has played a key role in the recent Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO; initiative, and has been involved in other large NIH initiatives, including the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI;, Human Health and Heredity in Africa (H3Africa;, and Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K; She also leads the OBSSR Training Team, which coordinates and develops training opportunities within and outside of the NIH in the behavioral and social sciences.