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?
Venture outside of your comfort zone.
Q2. Do you have a mentor you’d like to recognize? If so, what would you like to say to them?
I’m extremely thankful and appreciate the support from my mentors Dr. Graham Colditz at Washington University and Dr. Richard Cook at the University of Waterloo, Canada. They are my role models and inspire me in many ways as a researcher.
Q3. What advice would you give a young professional beginning their career in your field?
Think of yourself as a lifelong learner and always be open to new challenges.
Q4. If you could do one thing, leave one mark, on your profession, what would it be?
Driven by the goal of improving women’s health globally, I am actively working on algorithms that capitalize on the exploding volume of data to improve the current ability of long-term breast cancer prevention and risk stratification. I’m passionate about disseminating algorithms and pipelines to make personalized risk stratification feasible to work with in real-time, and in particular, in low-resource healthcare settings.
Q5. Name a challenge you’ve faced and how it turned out.
At my first job, transitioning from a student to an assistant professor was challenging for me in many ways. Being the PI of a new lab had to balance things such as identifying research foci, mentoring students, fostering collaborations, etc. It turned out to be great. From my own experiences, it helped tremendously to seek advice from colleagues and mentors and move forward one step at a time.
Q6. What is your ultimate career goal as you see it today?
Through my research at the junction of statistics, machine learning, and precision medicine, I aim to bring open-access and reproducible novel methods to build new insights for breast cancer prevention such that the benefits of big data are accessible to all women across the globe.
Q7. What alternate role(s) would you be interested in pursuing?
Q8. What core values are important to succeeding in your professional field?
Motivation, enthusiasm, persistence, and teamwork.
Q9. Ten years ago, I thought I would be…
A medical doctor (ten years ago I just got into my first year of undergrad and was in the general science program).
Q10. Ten years from now, I want to be …
A better self!
Q11. Would you want to acknowledge any family/friends/partners (beyond mentors)? If so, who?
A shout out to my parents who have always been supporting me throughout my career.
Q12. Please indicate your hometown, place of study, degree field(s), and an interesting fact about yourself.
I grew up in Vancouver, BC, Canada (Go Canucks!). I have majored in Statistics from undergrad to graduate school. I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and did a postdoctoral fellowship in Biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health. An interesting fact about myself – I don’t like gooseberries!