Athas received a PhD in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in 1988. Following his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins, he joined the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) where he served as an environmental and cancer epidemiologist. He then joined the UNM Public Health Program.
Teaching/Research InterestsAthas conducts applied research on health surveillance methods focusing on health disparities and the use of geographic information systems (GIS) for public health research and practice. He is currently working with the NMDOH to develop a statewide geodatabase to conduct spatial analysis of health and health-related outcomes in neighborhoods and communities throughout New Mexico. Athas teaches several courses in the Public Health Program, including Environmental and Occupational Health, Cancer Epidemiology and Public Health Methods for GIS.