Erin Robinson

Erin Robinson


MSW Program Director and Assistant Professor

Research at a glance

Research Topics

Research Summary

Dr. Robinson’s research focuses on older adult health, health communication and social support networks.


  • PhD, The University of Iowa, 2016
  • MPH, The University of Iowa, 2014
  • MSW, Washington University, 2010
  • BA, The University of Iowa, 2005

Research interests

Gerontology; HIV/AIDS; Health Disparities; Healthy Aging; Older Adult Sexuality.

Teaching interests

Macro-level Social Work Practice; Research Methods; Gerontology; Public Health Social Work; Immersion Learning.


  • 2015 GADE Student Award for Teaching in Social Work
  • 2015 Lorraine T. Dorfman Gerontological Social Work Award, UI School of Social Work
  • 2013 Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGE-SW) Pre-Dissertation Fellow

Research and scholarly activity

Older Adult Health, Health Communication, and Social Support Networks

Dr. Robinson is a public health social worker and gerontologist. Robinson’s primary research focus is on older adult health, health communication, and social support networks. Specifically, she has conducted research on HIV prevention among older adults. Did you know that people aged 50+ account for 50% of people living with HIV/AIDS, and almost 20% of new infections in the U.S.? These statistics drive Dr. Robinson to be a part of the solution to the greying of HIV. Her primary area of research focuses on how healthcare providers communicate with older adult patients in order to assess for risk factors, increase preventive behaviors, and reduce transmission of the disease. Through her research, Dr. Robinson has identified that intentional conversations with older adult patients about issues related to HIV/AIDS and sexual health is associated with increasing one’s knowledge of the disease, their perceived susceptibility, and their likelihood of talking with their sexual partners about prevention.

In addition, Dr. Robinson has also conducted research on disaster preparedness among older adults living in rural areas. This research examines the social support networks of older adults and how those networks can support older adults to be better prepared for a variety of disaster situations.

Dr. Robinson also collaborates with investigators from engineering, nursing, and medicine to develop a state-of-the-art monitoring technology for older adults, which uses in-home sensors to detect early signs of illness and functional decline. They were recently awarded a $2 million federal grant to continue this research.

A member of the MU faculty since 2016, Robinson is the Director of the Gerontology Certificate program and she teaches macro-level social work practice courses. She has won two awards for her outstanding teaching and conducts research on experiential teaching methods in social work education.

In the news

Apr. 26, 2023

Breaking down barriers