About ICF

Nicola Dawkins-Lyn

Senior Partner, Social Marketing
Nicola is a behavior change expert with more than 25 years of experience helping clients effectively promote public health.

A vice president at ICF, Nicola oversees a body of work that supports government marketing and communications efforts focused on social and health behavior change. She provides corporate and technical oversight for projects to ensure excellent standards for quality, client satisfaction, and resource management.

She has held multiple leadership roles during her tenure with the firm, including leading portfolios, business development, and a former line of business focused on community health. With training as a sociologist, Nicola is excited about work that seeks to improve quality of life for others, particularly by addressing surrounding environmental and social determinants.

She brings significant experience in behavior change and public health. She has crafted innovative approaches to address client challenges, developed research and evaluation designs to assess the effectiveness of change efforts and has provided training and technical assistance (TTA) to support initiatives. Her work has also involved translating evidence to practice and using practice-based evidence to inform further programming. Dr. Dawkins-Lyn received the BA in both Sociology and Communication from Wake Forest University. She received her MPH and PhD in Sociology, and later the MBA, all from Emory University.

"Periods of turbulence also create open windows for improvement. Right now we have the chance to build public health back better, improving policies and systems to assure equitable opportunity for all to live their healthiest life."
  • MBA, Emory University Goizueta Business School
  • Ph.D., Sociology, Emory University
  • M.P.H., Public Health, Behavioral Science and Health Education, Emory University
  • B.A., Sociology and Communication, Wake Forest University
  • Ottley, P., Dawkins-Lyn, N., Harris, C., Dooyema, C., Jernigan, J., Kauh, T., Kettel Khan, L., et al. (2018). Childhood obesity declines project: An exploratory study of strategies identified in communities reporting declines. Childhood Obesity, 14(S1), S12–S21.
  • Kauh, T., Dawkins-Lyn, N., Dooyema, C., Harris, C., Jernigan, J., Kettel Khan, L., et al. (2018). Childhood obesity declines project: An effort of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research to explore progress in four communities. Childhood Obesity, 14(S1), S1–S4.
  • Wethington, H., Hall, M. K., Dawkins-Lyn, N., Leviton, L.C., & Kettel Khan, L. (2012). Early assessment of programs and policies to prevent childhood obesity: Initiatives in after-school and child-care settings. Health Behavior and Public Health, 2(2), 27–34.
  • Dawkins-Lyn, N., Wethington, H., Kettel Khan, L., Grunbaum, J., Robin, L., Cotton, D., et al. (2010). Applying the systematic screening and assessment method to childhood obesity prevention. New Directions for Evaluation, 125, 33–49.
  • Kettel Khan, L., Dawkins-Lyn, N., & Leviton, L. (2010). Results and insights from the systematic screening and assessment method. New Directions for Evaluation, 125.
  • Leviton, L., Kettel Khan, L., Rog, D., Dawkins-Lyn, N., & Cotton, D. (2010). Applications of exploratory evaluation to public health programs and practice. Annual Review of Public Health, 31.


Inclusive excellence: A 5-year NIH plan puts DEIA front and center
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How was your experience? CX in government.
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A global health expert on U.S. public health in an interconnected world
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Looking to state leaders as the drivers of public health
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The local perspective on America’s public health landscape
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Human-centered design is key to successful organizational transformation
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Obesity prevention and control in worksite settings
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