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?
It is a great fortune to do something you love and that matters – don’t squander that in pursuit of momentary advantages.
Q2. Do you have a mentor you’d like to recognize? If so, what would you like to say to them?
Margrethe Juncker was the first person I worked for after college. She is a physician who started multiple nonprofits serving people in great need with health and social services. She taught me, through example, that you can be fierce and kind.
Q3. What advice would you give a young professional beginning their career in your field?
When you find people you admire in the field, don’t spend too much time thinking about what they are like now. Try to figure out what they were like when they were at the same point as you, and how they grew.
Q4. If you could do one thing, leave one mark, on your profession, what would it be?
To help people see that the “soft side” of healthcare – the social system of people and teams that deliver health services (including patients!) – doesn’t have to be left to habit and intuition. We can use data to inform social systems to do better and be more equitable in healthcare.
Q5. Name a challenge you’ve faced and how it turned out.
When I was younger, we lost our house and I broke my back and had to be in a wheelchair and then a heavy metal brace all down my back and torso. I thought the world was terrible. But people in our town, some friends, some strangers, helped us and we helped each other, and it was okay. It’s where I first saw that social systems matter.
Q6. What is your ultimate career goal as you see it today?
To be helpful.
Q7. What alternate role(s) would you be interested in pursuing?
Too many to count.
Q8. What core values are important to succeeding in your professional field?
In academia generally, what is valued is mostly intellect and maybe perseverance. But in public health academia, what makes it special is that we value both intellect and love — the greater purpose behind what we do, which comes from deep care and respect for people. We don’t usually say ‘love’ in academia but I think that’s what it is.
Q9. Ten years ago, I thought I would be …
I never could picture it clearly.
Q10. Ten years from now, I want to be …
Q11. Would you want to acknowledge any family/friends/partners (beyond mentors)? If so, who?
My grandmother and mother, June and Carol, because they helped create a world in which women could choose their path and follow it.
Q12. Please indicate your hometown, place of study, degree field(s), and an interesting fact about yourself.
I grew up in Massachusetts.