What attracted you to the health metrics field?
I have always been tantalized by diverse interests, including human health and environmental science. At UC Berkeley, I focused on my interest in ecology, writing a thesis on steelhead salmon evolutionary dynamics, which, while intellectually engaging, was far removed from human health. Meanwhile, my classes revealed global health inequities that have persisted despite increased attention and funding. I decided this was a worthy cause to which to apply my analytical skills.
What work are you doing at IHME?
At IHME, I work on the cost-effectiveness research team. Local and global policymakers often allocate budgets based on current practice or anecdotal evidence. Current cost-effectiveness analyses are generally delayed and too unwieldy to develop into policy. We have collaborated with Kenya and Zambia to select a set of priority interventions for the primary healthcare setting. I am assessing and compiling data on the efficacy of interventions targeting cervical cancer, hearing loss, and blindness in developing countries. IHME’s cutting-edge models will incorporate these data to provide policymakers with robust, comparable, and timely cost-effectiveness estimates.
How do you think your experience at IHME will contribute to your future work?
During my fellowship I will explore ways to synthesize my various interests. Environmental metrics is one possible avenue. Ensuring environmental sustainability (Millennium Development Goal 7) has failed to draw as much international cooperation and resources as the health-centered Millennium Development Goals. Yet environmental degradation presents many social, economic, and health issues. IHME illustrates the enormous potential of the environmental metrics field and gives me the skills to tackle it. The Global Burden of Disease emphasizes the contribution of environmental risk factors to global morbidity and shows how robust global data can impact policy. My experience running cost-effectiveness analyses will help me collect, assess, and model data to promote environmental sustainability.
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 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.