What attracted you to the health metrics field?
I spent much of my undergraduate academic career studying biology and health on an individual level. After having the opportunity to see firsthand these practices applied in medical clinics in rural southern Bolivia, my entire perspective on health shifted. I was fortunate to meet physicians, psychiatrists, and nurses who approached health differently because they lacked the basic resources necessary for standard clinical functions. I became fascinated with population health and the idea that the well-being of individuals and states is influenced not only by medical care itself, but also by social, economic, and political indicators.
Although I come from a life sciences background, I’ve always had a fondness for mathematics and how we can implement metrics to have a better understanding of the world we live in. IHME was the perfect opportunity to blend my biology and health policy education with my interests in quantitative analysis. I am able to learn new concepts in global health while also contributing to the effort to improve health outcomes for all.
What work are you doing at IHME?
My interests in the relationship between social factors, economics, and policy as predictors of population health contribute to my work on the risk factors and coverage teams for the Global Burden of Disease project. These teams work to compose a multidisciplinary understanding of global health by examining factors that directly or indirectly shape outcomes. Risk factors can range from tobacco use and air pollution to sanitation and education. Understanding how these factors contribute to health allows us to attribute disease burden to indicators that can be addressed by other members of the global health community. With better information on the role of risk factors in population health, a comprehensive view of determinants can be manufactured and used by policymakers to determine where to target efforts that can successfully reduce disease.
How do you think your experience at IHME will contribute to your future work?
The PBF program is an opportunity to engage myself in some of the critical issues people around the world face today, which has proven to be both challenging and rewarding. My interests in health, policy, and metrics have come together to give me unique insight into global health from the perspective of diverse faculty members, helpful mentors, and inquisitive peers. Through this experience, I hope to advance my skills in quantitative analysis and learn to use mathematical methods beyond the framework of my projects at IHME. I will become better prepared to think critically and quantitatively as I approach whatever new challenges I encounter in my professional career.