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Sidney Holt

Health Communication Scientist


PhD, Applied Social Psychology, The George Washington University


Sidney Holt, PhD, is a health communication scientist with more than 10 years of experience related to the design, implementation, and evaluation of local and national health communication campaigns and interventions; the development and promotion of print and digital tools and resources, using plain language and clear communication best practices; and the engagement of priority audiences and key stakeholders to meet research objectives. Dr. Holt’s expertise is aimed at promoting health and reducing health inequities among marginalized and/or underserved populations.

Dr. Holt’s recent work focuses on adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have extreme low literacy and their caregivers; people at risk for or living with HIV/AIDS and their health care providers; and communities who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Dr. Holt’s qualitative (e.g., in-depth interviews, focus groups), quantitative (e.g., surveys, experiments), and mixed methods research is grounded in psychological and social ecological theories of health.

Sidney Holt currently leads the implementation evaluation of the Red Carpet Entry (RCE) program, a structural intervention that facilitates rapid linkage to HIV medical care, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To assist CDC in preparing the RCE program for large-scale implementation as an HIV care best practice, RTI is creating an implementation toolkit and digital training modules, supporting the implementation of RCE in two communities at elevated risk for HIV in the U.S., evaluating key implementation strategies, and revising and finalizing implementation materials based on this evaluation.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Holt was the associate project director of CDC work to provide people with intellectual and development disabilities who have extreme low literacy (IDD/ELL) with relevant, timely, and effective COVID-19 information in accessible and inclusive formats. For this project, she conducted research with priority audiences, updated and developed COVID-19 content to meet these audiences’ information needs throughout the pandemic, disseminated resources to these audiences, and conducted evaluations to help inform future emergency response activities. She also solidified best practices for communicating with people with IDD/ELL and helped train over 400 CDC staff on these best practices.

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