Abigail Lee, MPH

University of Iowa College of Public Health
Community and Behavioral Health

What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?

Throughout the first year of my MPH I developed an informal mentorship with a departmental faculty member and, subsequently, with one of his collaborators from Kenya. Together we have worked to design an exploratory study in Kenya that focuses on how sociocultural traditions impact the experiences and quality of life of girls and young women. I’m leaving on 6/8/19 to meet these collaborators in Kenya, learn and practice PH research methodology with our team, and collect data for this study. This is a very important peak moment of my experience in public health, but all of the preparation leading up to this moment and the analysis and dissemination afterwards, will culminate into a hugely rewarding PH experience overall.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?

I believe that Public Health will need to focus on deconstructing structural/generational/sociocultural stigma that prevents people from accessing care and services that promote health and quality in life. I believe that stigma is an underlying factor for many more issues than are truly acknowledged or understood, and that the concept of stigma remains complex and relatively challenging to address.