Mentor: Dr. Kelly Gurka
What do you look forward to most as a future epidemiologist and your career in epidemiology? I am mostly looking forward to contributing to the health and well-being of women and children, especially in underserved areas in the US but mostly in various parts of Africa. I hope that my research, which will generally focus on identifying pregnancy risk factors in women, aids in the alleviation of maternal morbidity and mortality, but also reduces the rates of congenital anomalies in babies still in utero. I am also very keen on mentoring new students who have taken an interest in the field, and I hope that I can do so as a professor in a research-intensive institution someday.
What inspired you to study epidemiology? As a Nigerian who has lived in disease-prone environments, I have seen first-hand the negative impacts of infectious and non-communicable diseases on individuals, my society, and even the economy. From having malaria episodes at least twice every year to losing my childhood friend to a preventable disease, epidemiology is the path I have chosen to take to ensure that people live healthier and fulfilling lives and that they have access to the care they deserve.
Mentor: Dr. Yan Wang
What do you look forward to most as a future epidemiologist and your career in epidemiology? It will be considered a monumental milestone in my career as an epidemiologist to continuously impact the lives of vulnerable populations through the design and implementation of robust epidemiological studies with significant policy relevance. In the near future, I envisage being a full-fledged epidemiologist who will improve the lives of millions of marginalized poor communities through research and program implementation. I am looking forward to designing and implementing context-specific and locally adaptive disease control interventions for common public health problems such as HIV/AIDS, substance use, malaria, etc., especially in resource-limited settings.
What inspired you to study epidemiology? As a child growing up in the rural settings of the Gambia, I observed series of differential burdens of infectious and non-communicable diseases across the rural populace across all ages, especially among maternal women and children under five. I began to develop an interest in understanding the dynamics of disease determinants and how they influence the health of rural and marginalized communities. Thus, I ventured into studying epidemiology to direct compelling and novel research studies on major public health problems in order to find solutions, remedies, or containment strategies and methods.
Mentor: Dr. Mattia Prosperi and Dr. J Glenn Morris
What do you look forward to most as a future epidemiologist and your career in epidemiology? As a future physician-epidemiologist, I look forward to the unique privilege of balancing the roles of both professions through caring for the needs of the patient while translating these experiences to address these needs at the population level. I am excited to collaborate with other epidemiologists to ask and answer these clinically relevant questions!
What inspired you to study epidemiology? Life experiences have illustrated that the role of the physician must extend beyond the clinical setting in order to address individual, community, and national health inequalities. By pursuing formal graduate training in epidemiology, I hope to acquire the skills that will allow me to methodically identify, convey, and intervene in these critical health problems.
Mentor: Dr. Catalina Lopez-Quintero
What do you look forward to most as a future epidemiologist and your career in epidemiology? Epidemiology can bring us classical as well as innovative tools to understand health dynamics, and then help to apply solutions at a population or individual level. I see myself as a multidisciplinary researcher, combining the best of my previous career knowledge into a unique form to address prioritized health problems. It could range from using citizen science for improving clinical trial conduct and seeking more efficiency, to using causal inferences methodologies to make sense of all the clinical data gathered into state and national level repositories. In the end, with person-centered educational strategies, I hope individuals can make informed health decisions on a daily basis. And I will feel well-served whilst navigating those intersections.
What inspired you to study epidemiology? I grew up in a society where national priorities tend to reduce urgent needs with rash strategies, rather than long-term programs. In Colombia, the national budget is skewed by reconciliation activities we need to overcome the internal conflict we had decades ago. As a physician, I got the tools to understand society’s effects on the patient level. Now I want to embrace our main health needs on the contrary direction. I found in Epidemiology that piece of motivation I needed to comprehensively measure health-related factors causing diseases, and make the proper causation inferences. Fortunately, that will add to hundreds of researchers looking forward to taking the next step against health disparity, using our resources to the best we can.
Mentor: Dr. Robert Cook
What do you look forward to most as a future epidemiologist and your career in epidemiology? I am eager to create and put into practice more cutting-edge methods for the comprehensive management of HIV and substance use among a variety of populations, ultimately helping to improve health outcomes. My professional objective is to conduct high-caliber research that will contribute to developing and applying policies that will ensure efficient and effective healthcare delivery, focusing on substance use, HIV/AIDS, and other infectious diseases that affect vulnerable populations. By concentrating on vulnerable populations, I will play a role in the achievement of the objective of reducing health disparities within underserved communities.
What inspired you to study epidemiology? As a Zambian physician, it has been my strong passion and dream to study Epidemiology. Being a lower middle-income country native, I have first-hand experience with the unending cycle of ineffective public health care policies. Growing up in Zambia, it was disheartening to witness my close friends and family struggle with various preventable and treatable conditions while being denied access to preventive healthcare services. During my medical career, the great challenge associated with the management of infectious diseases in a resource-limited setting solidified my interest in preventive health care. Hence, I believe gaining the essential research skills, accompanied by my experience as a physician will enhance and strengthen my capabilities in conducting collaborative public health research and practice – both locally and globally.
Mentor: Dr. Dejana Braithwaite, Dr. Sharma Karanth, and Dr. Alex Yoo
What do you look forward to most as a future epidemiologist and your career in epidemiology? I look forward to applying my cancer epidemiology knowledge to inform policies and interventions to address cancer health disparities. I hope to be a physician scientist who thoroughly evaluates different risk factors and causes of cancer, who is better adapted to treat and serve populations from diverse backgrounds, and who contributes to the growing movement in research and medicine to end cancer for all.
What inspired you to study epidemiology? My community has been the biggest inspiration for me in my pursuit of epidemiology. I am from Louisiana, and many members of my community have worse health conditions, often due to such factors as the color of their skin, education, and income. I want to study these social determinants of health in cancer, particularly in the South, to help the people who have helped me get to where I am today.