Christopher La Rose

With JSI since 2017

Senior HIV Consultant, JSI Atlanta

You have a journalism degree and worked in public relations. What brought you to JSI?

I’ve actually been working in international public health for the past few years and joined JSI in Atlanta in January 2017. I moved to domestic public health because I missed working with health departments and community-based organizations in the U.S. and because I want to spend more time with my family while my kids are still young.

What is your focus?

I have both topical and technical areas of focus. My technical focuses are evaluation and planning, from formative evaluation and developing logic models to health communication campaign evaluation. Evaluation is critical because it lets you figure out what is happening, why it’s happening, and how it compares with what was planned.

Typically HIV prevention, care, and treatmentespecially links to carehas been a core focus. I’ve also evaluated health communications campaigns on adult vaccination, prescription opioid addiction, and other health issues.

Where were you before?

Before JSI, I worked for Inner City Fund (ICF) primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. The work was high-pressure but fascinating. I mostly provided HIV technical assistance, with some health communications evaluation, but I also worked on turning emerging health issues into new business opportunities.

What’s been your most interesting project so far?

HIV.gov! I was brought on as the blog manager because of my communications background (that journalism degree came in handy). It’s given me an opportunity to get back into that fast-paced newsroom environment where you’re chasing stories for daily deadlines. It certainly makes for interesting days.

How do you like Atlanta? What’s it like to be in one of the U.S.’s health hubs?

I’ve lived here since 2010. The traffic is bad, but I’ve figured a way around it for the most part. It’s the South so the food is great. I really like that the JSI office is in Grant Park, which is a funky and interesting part. Atlanta is definitely warmer than Boston and the mountains are beautiful, but I wish it was near the ocean.

You were at the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) recently. How was that?

This year, HIV.gov produced a series of Facebook Lives throughout the conference, and we offered a daily social media lab with one-on-one sessions on how to use any aspect of social media to increase the reach of an organization’s HIV services. We also hosted a usability session that showed how people are using our new site.

What’s the best part of your job?

In the morning, I come in earlier than other people and have the first hour or so to myself. I reach my standing desk, make a list of things to do for the day, select a music video playlist to suit my mood, and get to work. It’s my most productive time, fueled as it is by pastry and coffee from Octane, the coffee shop in the JSI Atlanta building.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I like spending time with my family, including taking my daughter to her martial arts lessons and going camping and hiking.

A Project to Remember

I really enjoyed the GSU Health Communication Messaging project. JSI is working collaboratively with Georgia State University’s Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science initiative to develop messages that communicate the continuum of risk associated with combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes. The work suits me because I like focus groups, qualitative analysis, and teachingholdovers from my Ph.D. years.

One of the best parts has been the appreciation from the GSU team. They’ve been touting us to their colleagues. Three months in they were already contacting us about more work for this and the next three years.