Before embarking on a career in public health, Hannah Ziobrowski worked with psychiatric patients at residential treatment centers in Boston for two years. While working with patients and hearing their stories, she realized how important early life experiences and environments are in shaping one’s options, behaviors, personality, mood, and ultimately wellbeing. During this time Hannah also began volunteering with Girls on the Run, a positive youth development program for young girls. As a Girls on the Run coach, she saw how promoting wellbeing and confidence could be powerful in preventing future mental health issues.
"From these experiences, my desire to move into public health, to work upstream and prevent rather than treat mental health issues, began," Hannah said. She was first introduced to Epidemiology during her Master in Public Health training. When she began applying the skills she learned in class to large datasets as a Research Assistant, she soon realized that Epidemiology was an excellent fit and that she wanted to pursue a PhD in this field. "Epidemiology allows me to incorporate my skills and interests in psychiatry, health, math, data analysis, and writing," Hannah said. Studying Epidemiology has taught her how to rigorously assess research methods and to choose the best study design and methods to answer her research questions. Since many of the exposures Hannah is interested in could not ethically be randomized in an experiment, Epidemiology allows her to capitalize on observational data and to use tools to minimize bias.
"I chose to study at Brown," Hannah said, "because the small program provides so much individual attention, many of the faculty’s research interests dovetailed with my own, and the professors and students are so personable and genuine." Since coming to Brown, she's had the opportunity to work with both Drs. Alison Field and Stephen Buka in the department of Epidemiology and has used large prospective datasets to examine research questions relating to the development, treatment, and prevention of psychiatric disorders.