Hannah Ziobrowski

PhD in Epidemiology ’20


Undergraduate Institution: Vassar College, Neuroscience and Behavior
Current Role: Postdoctoral Research Associate at Harvard Medical School

Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
I was drawn to the small size of the Epidemiology PhD program, which allows for much more individual attention than other schools. I also had strong overlapping research interests with faculty members. The funding package and location in Providence (close to my family) were important driving factors in my decision, too.

What makes Brown's program different from other programs you considered?
The program size is smaller, allowing for greater individual attention. The Epidemiology PhD program also has a greater focus on causal inference than most programs. 

What do you enjoy most about your program?
My super supportive fellow PhD students! I also love being surrounded by peers and faculty with a wide array of research interests and specialties. 

What is your academic area of interest and why?
I'm interested in psychiatric epidemiology, and how stress and trauma affect mental and physical health across the life course. After college, I worked with psychiatric patients in residential facilities for two years and it became clear that early life events, especially traumatic experiences, can have such substantial long term affects on one's health and wellbeing. I wanted to move into public health to work upstream and work to prevent, rather than treat, psychiatric illnesses at the population level.

What are your postgraduate goals/plans?
I hope to secure a post-doctoral fellowship to continue studying the effects of stress and trauma on physical and mental health throughout the life course. I ultimately hope to become a professor at an academic research institution. 

Why Providence?
There are many opportunities to collaborate between the different departments in the School of Public Health, the medical school at Brown, and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
When you go for interviews, remember that you are also interviewing the program; make sure that the school and program is a good fit for YOU and that you will feel supported there. Look for a mentor who you share similar research interests with. Who you work with and the type of research you are able to work on matters more than the exact PhD degree you obtain. It also helps to find a mentor who has access to data you are interested in working with.

Learn more about Brown's PhD in Epidemiology