About ICF

Sophia Zanakos

Director, Program Evaluation
Sophia is a program evaluation expert with more than 20 years of experience executing health research, evaluation, and communications projects.

Sophia applies her health research and evaluation expertise to the communications objectives for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases COVID-19 treatment guidelines and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. She leverages effective website design, content generation, social media promotion and inquiry response to further their messaging goals. Sophia has conducted research for federal, state and local clients, focusing on mental health, suicide prevention, traumatic brain injury, adolescent risk behavior surveillance, and quality of life. Her experience spans many areas of study design, implementation, and reporting for both quantitative and qualitative research projects. Sophia oversees National Institute of Health communications programs pertaining to COVID-19 treatment guidelines for health professionals and evidence-based complementary and integrative health approaches.

Previously, Sophia served as an evaluator at the Institute for Substance Abuse Studies at the University of Virginia. Later, she directed numerous studies including the National Outcomes Evaluation for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Suicide Prevention program. This large-scale endeavor supported the field of suicide prevention and mental health promotion by providing technical assistance and training.

Sophia also directed several cycles of the Maryland Adolescent Survey, ensuring Maryland educators and policymakers had timely and reliable state- and county-wide risk behavior surveillance estimates on which to base their ongoing substance use curricula for students in middle and high school.

"Health policy decisions must be based on well-executed research while being communicated in timely and effective ways that suit the target audience."
  • Wegner, D. M., & Zanakos, S. (1994). Chronic thought suppression. Journal of Personality, 62(4), 615–640.
  • Wegner, D. M., Erber, R., & Zanakos, S. (1993). Ironic processes in the mental control of mood and mood-related thought. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(6), 1093–1104.