The inaugural 40 Under 40 Public Health Catalyst Awards aim to highlight the rising leaders and innovators of the public health field. The Boston Congress of Public Health (BCPH) and the HPHR Journal selected a group of “leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, activists”, and doctors that will inspire the next generations of public health workers to change the world. The individuals featured for this award have not only shown excellent work performance and an extensive academic history but have also brought innovative solutions to public health issues around the world.
The NYC Daily Post interviewed 40 under 40 award winners to learn about their career journeys leading up to their nominations.
Q1. What’s a piece of advice you’ve received that has impacted your career journey?
“Keep asking, the worst thing that can happen is that you will hear a no.” This has applied to research questions, ideas about community engagement projects and even jobs.
Q2. Do you have a mentor you’d like to recognize? If so, what would you like to say to them?
Jerry Reichman, my dissertation advisor and now co-author and good friend. He taught me to never be satisfied with the status quo and to be creative in the pursuit of legal and policy solutions.
Q3. What advice would you give a young professional beginning their career in your field?
Learn as much as you can — from formal and informal sources, from the injustices you see around you — and then ask yourself: what else could be done to help one or more people facing a particular challenge in accessing healthcare?
Q4. If you could do one thing, leave one mark, on your profession, what would it be?
I would like to contribute toward greater trust in the vaccine ecosystem and facilitate conversations between people at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum in this area.
Q5. Name a challenge you’ve faced and how it turned out.
Sometimes I receive less-than-positive mail (and especially emails) about vaccine-related matters from people who disagree with my views on the public health benefits of vaccination. I have learned to treat these moments as learning experiences, which help me further understand why people hold different views on this very polarizing topic.
Q6. What is your ultimate career goal as you see it today?
Lending a hand to the global health community as it strives to expand access to medicines to everyone.
Q7. What alternate role(s) would you be interested in pursuing?
Honestly, between teaching, writing, and working with local communities, my plate is full. The one thing I would wish for is more time to do each of these things well.
Q8. What core values are important to succeeding in your professional field?
Curiosity and a commitment to the public good.
Q9. Ten years ago, I thought I would be…
Working on issues related to access to medicines. And I was starting to work on vaccine-related issues, but I had no idea that it would become my main field.
Q10. Ten years from now, I want to be …
Doing exactly what I am doing now, but hopefully in a world where more people have access to the medicines they need.
Q11. Would you want to acknowledge any family/friends/partners (beyond mentors)? If so, who?
My family here in the US and my family in Portugal, who have always supported my work – and the travel that comes with it.
Q12. Please indicate your hometown, place of study, degree field(s), and an interesting fact about yourself.
I live near Philadelphia but was born in Lisbon, Portugal. I graduated from Duke Law School in Durham, North Carolina. In addition to English and Portuguese, I speak Italian and I’ve just returned from a trip to rural Italy where I learned a lot about vaccination policy and vaccine trust-building. And I had a lot of gelato.
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