What attracted you to the health metrics field?
Seeing health disparities first-hand on trips to Haiti and Guatemala at a young age motivated me to pursue a career in global health. To combine this passion for global health with interests in math and science, I studied biomedical engineering as an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University. I combined my coursework with research focused on developing diagnostic medical devices for use in low-resource settings. My favorite part of engineering was the big-picture and systematic thinking required to solve problems, and I saw the opportunity for this same kind of problem-solving in health metrics. The chance to continue to apply this type of thinking to global health problems at IHME drew me to this position and this field.
What work are you doing at IHME?
At IHME, I’m working on the Pandemic Preparedness team. I am looking at zoonotic diseases, diseases that are carried by animals, that can be transferred to humans; this transfer is called spillover. As part of the larger Local Burden of Disease team, our team is mapping regions at a 5x5 km resolution based on their susceptibility to a spillover event. We are providing these maps to policymakers so that they can strengthen surveillance capacity and emergency infrastructure in regions at high risk, hopefully preventing global pandemic spread.
How do you think your experience at IHME will contribute to your future work?
I think that my experience at IHME will allow me to gain a broader understanding of the global health landscape while teaching me concrete quantitative skills that I can apply to impact that landscape. IHME offers the opportunity to further develop research and coding skills that are widely applicable across disciplines. This experience will open many doors for me to continue pursuing a career in quantitative health, whether in an academic, government, or private setting.