What attracted you to the health metrics field?
I was first attracted to the health metrics field when, in college, I was searching for a way to combine my love of math with my passion for social justice. My eyes were opened to all the ways in which this combination is possible through a research project during my junior and senior years. For this project, I used agent-based modeling to simulate the behavior of interpersonal violence on campus and thus determine which method of prevention would work best. I loved being able to interface between the technical, mathematical, and computer science-related problems in the project, and the social and educational implications. Since that project, I have worked many other jobs and experienced other types of research projects, but that type of modeling was always the field I most enjoyed.
What work are you doing at IHME?
Currently, I am on the Tobacco, Education, and Alcohol Modeling team working primarily on modeling tobacco as a risk factor for many other health outcomes. Tobacco as a risk factor encompasses many different types of product use, including smoking, chewing, and snus, and thus it is complicated to quantify in terms of severity. I hope to be able to contribute significantly to all of the great work that has already been done!
How do you think your experience at IHME will contribute to your future work?
I believe that my work at IHME will enable me to work in many different fields. By providing me with not only a foundation for modeling work, but a much more nuanced understanding of the general obstacles to data science (such as missing data, inherently biased data, etc.), I will have a toolset that I can apply to many different fields. This is important to me because I am not exactly sure which field I would like to end up in. I also believe that IHME will help me to determine this career path, since there are so many amazing researchers, clinicians, data professionals, economists, etc. all working together in one place. Having the opportunity to talk to them about their career paths and learn more about all of the different applications of my work will be an amazing tool in my own career path realization.