How have you contributed to one of CDC’s priorities through your ASPPH/CDC Fellowship assignment? Explain what you have done that has “made a difference” at CDC and benefitted public health in the United States.
One of CDC’s 3 Strategic Priorities is to eliminate disease. While the focus of my research is not one of the main activities that fall under this priority, I do believe that preventing occupational disease is a critical part of protecting America’s safety, health, and security. Right now, the occurrence of silica–related respiratory disease has not declined in prevalence and my work at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is looking at detecting respirable crystalline silica exposures among miners before disease onset. Our work is focused on ensuring that all miners live and retire well.
How will your fellowship experience shape your career?
My fellowship experience not only introduced me to entirely new disciplines, including industrial hygiene and quantitative exposure assessment but also enhanced my epidemiology training. As I move forward in my career, this fellowship is the launchpad to becoming a more thoughtful epidemiologist and public health steward. The fellowship also provided the space to learn the facets of working in the federal government with internal collaborators and external partners from all sectors.
Describe specifically some of the relationships/partnerships you have built through the fellowship and how those relationships have helped/will help you in your career.
During my fellowship, I was extremely fortunate to have two mentors who not only believed in the work that I was doing but believe in my future as an epidemiologist. My primary mentor, Dr. Aaron Sussell, has been instrumental in shepherding me through the process of being an epidemiologist with a strong skill set in quantitative exposure assessment, who can also communicate scientific findings to many audiences. My secondary mentor and supervisor, Dr. Jerry Poplin, has been an incredible teacher throughout the fellowship. From helping me understand a unique population, to incorporating study design elements, he has positively supported my development as an early–career researcher. My mentors at NIOSH have shaped the direction of my career and will continue to be an encouraging presence in my life, well after the fellowship concludes.