Darin Erickson, PhD

Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health

Darin Erickson

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-626-0516

Office Address:
300 West Bank Office Building

Mailing Address:
1300 S 2nd St
Room 300 West Bank Office Building
Minneapolis, MN 55454

PhD, Social Psychology, University of Missouri

MA, Social Psychology, University of Missouri

BS, Psychology, Iowa State University


I’m a methodologist using advanced statistical modelling to better understand the role of the environment on health-related outcomes. Much of my work has been in substance use, primarily alcohol and tobacco, with a focus on population-level prevention. Recent alcohol projects have included examining the relationships between alcohol outlet density and crime, seeing how a state’s alcohol policy environment and enforcement relate to things such as alcohol consumption, traffic crashes, and mortality, developing and testing a manager-focused alcohol retailer training program, and developing new techniques for preventing alcohol-related problems on college campuses. This alcohol work is in close collaboration with my colleagues in the Alcohol Epidemiology Program, located in the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health. 

Other work focuses on obesity and HIV/AIDS, including prevention methodology and intervention. 




Research Summary/Interests

The models we use tend to be complex, mostly to overcome data and study design constraints. First, correlation exists in almost all of our datasets, and I use a number of statistical models to accommodate this correlation including random intercept models, correlated residual models, random coefficient/growth curve models, general estimating equations, and time series, to name a few. Second, recent work has involved the use of tailored or SMART designs. These study designs complement traditional RCT designs and incorporate multiple randomizations to efficiently test factorial experiments. Finally, I employ person-centered mixture models to measure and examine unobserved heterogeneity. Latent class analysis allows us to measure constructs that are categorical in nature but not directly observable. Examples of constructs I have modeled using LCA include alcohol control policies (for states as well as college campuses), substance use, alcohol enforcement practices by law enforcement agencies, food shopping, physical activity, and use of sexually explicit media. I also use mixture techniques longitudinally, including using them to cluster longitudinal trajectories (e.g., tobacco and alcohol use during adolescence and young adulthood) and to examine movements between latent classes over time (i.e., latent transition analysis) and correlates of these movements.

Research Funding Grants

  • 2016–2019, US Dept. of Health & Human Services HRSA, "Exercise Intervention for Preventing Perinatal Depression among Low Income Women," Co-Investigator
  • 2016–2020, NIH Nat'l Inst of Child Health/Human Dev, "Impacts of Later High School Start Times on Adolescent Weight and Weight-Related Behavior," Co-Investigator
  • 2015–2020, NIH Nat'l Inst on Drug Abuse, "A Technology-Delivered Peer-to-Peer Support ART Adherence Intervention for HIV+ MSM," Co-Investigator
  • 2014–2018, NIH, "Impact of a Local Staple Food Ordinance on Food Choice and Calories Purchased," Co-Investigator
  • 2014–2017, USDOD Army, "Adapting a Training Program for Military-focused Alcohol Establishments," Co-Investigator
  • 2012–2017, NIH Nat'l Inst. on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoh, "Intersection of Local and State Alcohol Policy: The Case of Malt Liquor," Co-Investigator


See a full list of publications on PubMed

  • Barnes TL, Pelletier JE, Erickson DJ, Caspi CE, Harnack LJ, Laska MN. "Healthfulness of Foods Advertised in Small and Nontraditional Urban Stores in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, 2014," Preventing Chronic Disease, Nov 2016
  • VanKim NA, Erickson DJ, Eisenberg ME, Lust K, Rosser BR, Laska MN. "Differences in Weight-Related Behavioral Profiles by Sexual Orientation Among College Men: A Latent Class Analysis," American Journal of Health Promotion, Nov 2016
  • VanKim NA, Erickson DJ, Eisenberg ME, Lust K, Rosser BR, Laska MN. "Relationship between weight-related behavioral profiles and health outcomes by sexual orientation and gender," Obesity, July 2016
  • Erickson DJ, Rutledge PC, Lenk KM, Nelson TF, Jones-Webb R, Toomey TL. "Patterns of Alcohol Policy Enforcement Activities among Local Law Enforcement Agencies: A Latent Class Analysis," International Journal of Drug and Alcohol Research, 2015
  • Erickson DJ, Lenk KM, Toomey TL, Nelson TF, Jones-Webb R. "The alcohol policy environment, enforcement and consumption in the United States," Drug and Alcohol Review, Sept 2015


Teaching Areas

As one of the methodologists in our Division, I helped develop the curriculum for methods training for our Epidemiology PhD program and serve as co-instructor for our core PhD analysis course (PubH 8342: Advanced Epidemiologic Methods: Applications). This course takes an in-depth look at regression (linear, logistic, Poisson, ordinal, multinomial), spline regression, covariance pattern modeling, multilevel modeling (random intercept, random slope), general estimating equations, survival analysis, principal component analysis, latent class analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, missing data estimation, and marginal effects estimation.


  • PubH 8342, Advanced Epidemiologic Methods: Applications


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