What attracted you to the health metrics field?
I began my undergraduate studies fascinated with life at the molecular level and how it could be manipulated to enhance individual health. Through my biochemistry major, I explored these interests in my coursework and on the lab bench. At the Jerome Lab at Fred Hutch, I worked to engineer enzymes that could specifically target and disrupt latent Hepatitis B virus DNA.
As the years passed, my studies eventually led me to consider health outside of the biochemical context. I became aware of and fascinated with the complex interaction of social, economic, political, and geographical factors at play in determining the health of individuals and societies worldwide. I connected with the experiences of communities adversely affected by health access inequity and delved into the public health program to learn more.
With my background strongly rooted in quantitative measurement and analysis, I naturally gravitated toward the field of health metrics. I recognized the importance of timely, understandable, and accurate information in instigating and supporting effective change. Without this, policymakers cannot address health disparities and deficiencies – or be held accountable for their failure to do so.
What work are you doing at IHME?
I am helping out on the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) portion of the Global Burden of Disease estimations. This involves conducting a comprehensive literature review and data extraction of worldwide prevalence estimates which will serve as inputs into future models. I will also be involved soon in the Geospatial team’s efforts to produce 5 km x 5 km resolution prevalence maps for a few specific NTDs. These will hopefully provide relevant and useful information for ongoing elimination/eradication efforts.
How do you think your experience at IHME will contribute to your future work?
Apart from developing a strong base in statistical research methodology and data science, this experience also allows me the opportunity to connect with a diverse crowd of extremely talented researchers. Although I am not yet certain of my future work, I am certain these next few years will align me well with the data-driven future of public/global health. I look forward to using the skills I learn here to continue pursuing my interest in advancing effective health policy through quantitative research.