What attracted you to the health metrics field?
Wanting to work in a discipline that put issues of social justice at the forefront of its mission, I elected to dedicate myself to the health metrics field because of the growing concerns over global health. With the deadline of the Millennium Development Goals on the horizon, the disparities in health outcomes between developed and developing countries have been widely discussed. To understand the extent to which these disparities persist and what drives them, it is essential to have sound estimates of the global health landscape. Being a part of the process of making these estimates was a way for me to be involved in a movement that focuses on better health for those most in need, while utilizing the technical background that I had developed in computing and statistics.
What work are you doing at IHME?
I am currently working on the Global Burden of Disease research team as a scientific developer. As part of the cause of death modeling group, the position involves designing, testing, and implementing more efficient and effective methods to make estimates of cause of death for major causes that are reliable and comparable. By working at the global scale, we are able to compare the major causes of death against one another to assess their degree of burden on each country. Furthermore, these estimates allow us to make better forecasts of the disease by analyzing previous trends.
Working on this project has improved my skill set in working with complex algorithms implemented in high-level languages. Ensuring that we produce reliable estimates often involves rigorous testing, and implementing these tests requires working with the latest tools in data analytics.
How do you think your experience at IHME will contribute to your future work?
Being able to use applied mathematics to assess and address social issues is my primary goal for a future career path. With an ever-growing amount of data being collected at the individual level, I would like to continue to use the latest applied methodology to produce compelling arguments to influence social policy. Working with IHME gives me a platform to both enhance my technical skills and understand the work involved in disseminating scientific research so that it has the positive impact the researchers desire.
Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration. Global, regional, and national cancer incidence, mortality, years of life lost, years lived with disability, and disability-adjusted life years for 32 cancer groups, 1990 to 2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease study. JAMA Oncology. 2016 Dec 3. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.5688.
GBD 2015 Maternal Mortality Collaborators. Global, regional, and national levels of maternal mortality, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The Lancet. 2016 Oct 7; 388:1775–1812.
GBD 2015 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The Lancet. 2016 Oct 7; 388:1459–1544.