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Preeti Panda: Boston Congress of Public Health 40 under 40 Winner

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? 

To keep chasing your goals, even in the face of adversity, and to take criticism as a chance to improve and move forward but not as a deterrent.

Q2. Do you have a mentor you’d like to recognize? If so, what would you like to say to them? 

My mentor from residency, Dr. Jerri Rose, inspired me to go into pediatric emergency medicine. Thank you for your unconditional support, for being a strong female role model and someone I can look up to, especially with regard to your outstanding work with patients and as an advocate. 

Q3. What advice would you give a young professional beginning their career in your field? 

No dream, project, or endeavor is too big to strive for — don’t be afraid to set a precedent for those that come after you. 

Q4. If you could do one thing, leave one mark, on your profession, what would it be? 

To be successful in creating effective and evidence-based programs in the pediatric emergency department to support children who have experienced human trafficking and complex trauma.

Q5. Name a challenge you’ve faced and how it turned out. 

My colleagues and I have faced numerous challenges in our work on improving health services for children who have experienced human trafficking. Many challenges were related to general unfamiliarity with human trafficking in the U.S. and how it impacts children. Through persistence, spreading awareness, and most importantly working with survivor leaders, we were able to overcome many of these challenges and were successful in many of our endeavors, including establishing a medical home for child trafficking survivors.

Q6. What is your ultimate career goal as you see it today? 

My ultimate career goal is to be an independent researcher, and to have my work positively and tangibly impact the lives of at-risk youth. 

Q7. What alternate role(s) would you be interested in pursuing?

As a physician and pediatrician, I hope to pursue clinical, research, and advocacy-related work. 

Q8. What core values are important to succeeding in your professional field? 

Empathy, integrity, advocacy, and service.

Q9. Ten years ago, I thought I would be … 

A physician and advocate

Q10. Ten years from now, I want to be …

A role model for the next generation of leaders in STEM careers, healthcare, and advocacy.

Q11. Would you want to acknowledge any family/friends/partners (beyond mentors)? If so, who?

To my family, for their unconditional support — I would not be here today without them. To my loving husband, who always encourages me to dream bigger.

Q12. Please indicate your hometown, place of study, degree field(s), and an interesting fact about yourself.

Hometown: Ithaca, NY; B.S. from Cornell University, M.D. from Albany Medical College, currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Health Policy (M.S.P.H.) from Stanford University and completing a fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Stanford University.

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