What attracted you to the health metrics field?
My introduction to the field began with work I completed during my undergraduate studies at the Public Health Department of Santa Barbara. During my tenure, I investigated referral compliance patterns of the diabetic patients of the ophthalmology clinic. It was this initial experience working with health data that demonstrated both its potential and real impact.
Next, in my hometown of Los Angeles, I further pursued my interests in health and health metrics during a recurrent summer fellowship at UCLA. There, we examined a region within the greater Los Angeles County referred to as “SPA 6” and assessed the number of primary care physicians in the area in order to potentially designate it as a Health Profession Shortage Area (HPSA). This encouraged the resettlement of health services through incentive programs enacted by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
It was after these experiences and seeing the power of data in the context of health that I began my search for programs with a mission of employing data to drive and improve health generally. The opportunity provided by the fellowship program at IHME exceeded my expectations.
What work are you doing at IHME?
Currently, I am working with the risk factors team in a few different areas. As a part of the greater Global Burden of Disease study, our group works to estimate exposure, relative risk, and attributable burden of almost 80 separate risk factors for 188 countries. My immediate task is analyzing child and maternal malnutrition risk factors, such as suboptimal breastfeeding and zinc deficiency, as well as the 14 dietary risk factors we track.
Each of these risk factors is associated with one or more outcomes, and we work to estimate how much of the potential outcome is attributable to the risk factors. The overall objective of this work is to generate results that can direct policymakers toward the areas that will benefit most from intervention.
How do you think your experience at IHME will contribute to your future work?
After my fellowship at IHME, I plan to attend medical school. Then, ideally I would like to maintain a global bent to my work, potentially as an international physician working on the ground to implement the most recent global health findings with a strong understanding of where they came from. Another possibility might be working in academia, engaging in novel research and educating the future leaders of the field. During the next few years, I plan to explore what will ultimately be my life’s path and passion.
The GBD 2015 Obesity Collaborators. Health effects of overweight and obesity in 195 countries over 25 years. New England Journal of Medicine. 12 Jun 2017. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1614362
GBD 2015 Healthcare Access and Quality Collaborators. Healthcare Access and Quality Index based on mortality from causes amenable to personal healthcare in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2015: a novel analysis from the Global Burden of Disease 2015 study. The Lancet. 2017 May 18.
GBD 2015 Risk Factors Collaborators. Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioral, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The Lancet. 2016 Oct 7; 388:1659–1724.
GBD 2015 DALYs and HALE Collaborators. Global, regional, and national disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 315 diseases and injuries and healthy life expectancy (HALE), 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The Lancet. 2016 Oct 7; 388:1603–1658.
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.
GBD 2015 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The Lancet. 2016 Oct 7; 388:1545–1602.
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*Authors listed alphabetically