What attracted you to the health metric field?
My initial interest in health stemmed from a fascination with the human body and the complexity of the mechanisms that evolved to keep us healthy and functioning. However, in college, through exploring a multidisciplinary perspective on health, I became interested in the ways society, culture and any number of other factors interact with biology to produce differential health outcomes. This interest coincides well with the ways that public health looks at health and disease more holistically, taking factors outside the biological realm into consideration. It wasn’t until completing a summer program in biostatistics and epidemiology that I realized the potential power of quantitative tools in attempting to measure these different factors and their associated health outcomes. When I happened upon IHME in a search for post-graduate opportunities, I was intrigued by the mission statement and the ways IHME was using powerful quantitative tools and a holistic understanding of disease to better study the impact of diseases worldwide and reduce the overall burden of disease on a global scale.
What work are you doing at IHME?
At IHME I am working on the disease estimation team, producing estimates for YLLs, YLDs and DALYs for neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Motor Neuron Disorder. On this team, I am excited to pull together my background knowledge stemming from studying these disorders as a neuroscience major in my undergraduate studies with the new skills in data analysis that I am developing at IHME. My work includes finding and extracting new data sources and preparing the data, along with working to specify the most appropriate modeling parameters in order to produce the best estimates possible. In line with the GBD framework, I produce estimates for disease burden from neurological disorders for both sexes, as well as all GBD age-groups and across all GBD geographies.
How do you think your experience at IHME will contribute to your future work?
I am excited to dive into the field of global health metrics and really immerse myself in the strategies and methods employed at IHME in order to produce data-driven results. After this fellowship, I would like to continue working in health-related research and hope to focus more on the epidemiology of neurodegenerative diseases. I believe the skills I learn at IHME will be crucial to my future success, and I look forward to learning more about IHME’s research and about myself as a researcher in order to better understand the type of research I would like to pursue in the future.