Looking for my next opportunity to leverage data to bring about meaningful change
Witnessing my father work tirelessly with the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures as a child sparked my curiosity in science and medicine. Watching him advocate for developments in stem cell research and learning from him about the immense promise that this research has to help people live healthier and longer lives instilled in me the idea that humans have a human right to health and has guided my career since.
When I started at Johns Hopkins I dedicated myself to studying biology in the hopes of becoming one of the researchers who's work my father had fought to protect. During my first semester, I pursued a research assistant position at the Carnegie Institution for Science - Department of Embryology. There I worked on a study of mechanisms of wound repair in drosophila flies. The more I learned about stem cell research and the more familiar I became with the scientific process, however, I realised that I wanted to see the impact of my work actualised. At Johns Hopkins I was introduced to the field of public health, which fit my passion for the human right to health and my desire to work towards tangible change.
Once I started down this academic path, I found inspiration in unexpected places. At the time, the Showmax show Homeland was just coming out. The images from that show of women being treated as sub-human deeply touched me. As odd as it sounds, this inspired my passion for equitable access to women's healthcare and reproductive justice.
This lead me to study abroad in Amman, Jordan. In my program with the School for International Training (SIT), I had the privilege of studying along side an incredibly diverse cohort. I learned so much about feminism and anthropology during lunch breaks and on walks to the best falafel place on Rainbow street (which is Al Quds, I don't care what anyone says). One of my classmates lent me Nicholas Kristof's and Sheryl WuDunn's Half the Sky mid-way through the program. Reading the personal accounts in the book ignited my gut belief in the human right to health in ways I had never experienced before. The imagery of women needlessly dying during child birth due to a lack of access to appropriate medical equipment and care painted by Kristoff and WuDunn made me take a second look at my perspective on public health. The rest of my academic pursuits at Hopkins were focused on women's experiences with health and access to reproductive health services with the hope that the more that is understood about how to best deliver this care, the fewer excuses there are for governments to leave these essential services overlooked.
My passion for public health generally has brought me around the world and inspired me to pursue meaningful projects. To Peru where I worked with an occupational therapist making wheel chair fittings for differently abled children in small villages. To Jordan where I conducted research on Palestinian women's experiences accessing family planning. To UNICEF where I worked to make vaccine supply chains more efficient and managed data for a multi-national study. To South Africa where I served in the Peace Corps for two years as a Community HIV Outreach volunteer and then went on to work towards my masters in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of the Witwatersrand.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought me back home, giving me the opportunity to explore my interests more domestically. I had the opportunity to consult at Spark Street Advisors where I worked on projects targeting the use of AI to expand health and wellness for youth in low-and-middle income countries as well as the use of tech to improve young peoples' mental health.
After Spark Street I was able to get a full-time position at the Harlem Prevention Center, a part of ICAP at Columbia University. Here I've had the opportunity to bring my unique skills to my role as Data Manager. Working on clinical trials for HIV prevention products and COVID-19 vaccines and prevention has further enriched my skill set as I lead the site in data quality. I've had the opportunity to implement different projects to aid the research clinicians and coordinators to improve the data we deliver to our sponsors. I designed online data capture forms on REDCap, used during our QC processes to track data quality across our trials. Monthly reports from this data assist clinicians and coordinators in targeting areas for improvement. I've been able to share this tool with the other sites in our clinical trials unit and train them in how to use this data to improve data quality.
As I pursue the next step in my career, I am looking to apply my skills in an industry setting. I am looking for a position in which I can apply my data analysis skills while at the same time add more analytical techniques to my tool belt. The human right to healthcare is something that remains extremely important to be, informing my desire to pursue a position at a health tech company.
I appreciate you reading my story this far, and I invite you to take a look at the greatest hits organised on my resume page (also available to download), look more at the research I have been working on for a collective five years, and find out more about my work with the Peace Corps in South Africa.
All the best,