I entered college, thinking I would someday go to law school and maybe do criminal law or something in the social justice arena. During my sophomore year, I took a biology class that was taught by who I would describe as a master teacher. I was immediately inspired to change my focus to science without any idea of what I would do with a degree in biology. I eventually assumed I would go to medical school like the other science student friends of mine but first pursued a Master’s degree in Public Health. While taking my first class in epidemiology, I was totally blown away by the idea of addressing the health needs of a community or population rather than an individual patient. That was my transformative moment that led me to abandon my medical school aspirations and pursue a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.
I went on to work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, initially as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer and later as Chief of Epidemiology within the Division of Diabetes Translation. I subsequently left the CDC because I wanted to focus more on issues related to healthcare financing and delivery, so I joined a newly formed Outcomes Research team within a health plan. I spent the next phase of my career leading health economics and outcomes research teams and mentoring Interns and Fellows at managed care and pharmaceutical companies.
I remain interested in initiatives to transform healthcare and mentoring emerging talent. Despite not having clarity of what I was going to do when I switched to science, I discovered a professional area that I had never heard of or knew anyone doing it. I love what I do and get excited when students or others decide to take a path not previously considered.
Outside of work, I enjoy photography and include a close cohort of documentary photographers, photo editors and journalists in my circle of friends. I am constantly trying to learn more and grow in my photography knowledge through workshops, reading, volunteering and projects.