University of Washington
Hometown: Friday Harbor, WA
What attracted you to the health metrics field?
One summer during my undergraduate studies, I assisted in a cost effectiveness study for a specific innovation in measles vaccinations. I then went into a study-abroad program in Thailand. Because of my experience with the cost effectiveness research, I started to see the world through a different lens during my travels. Everywhere I went, I was reminded of the lack of health services for many people, especially in rural areas. My interest in health metrics specifically has flourished since I went on a data-gathering mission to Tajikistan, where I collected measles vaccination costing data. This experience taught me about the paucity of data for some interventions and the difficulty policymakers have in making informed decisions without good data.
What work are you doing at IHME?
On the Health Care Delivery Constraints research team, our task is to understand how health care is limited in different settings and how those limits can be relaxed or overcome. It is an extremely important policy question because we know that more money is being spent on health care in developing countries, both from the countries themselves and in the form of development assistance for health. What we don’t know is whether the money is being spent wisely. Our research will help identify some of the challenges in implementing successful health programs, particularly in resource-poor settings. The intent is for this work to lead to better allocation of health funding.
How do you think your experience at IHME will contribute to your future work?
I plan to pursue work in health policy. IHME is a great place to learn the methods and understand the science behind how policy decisions are made. I already had a strong analytical bent because of my economics work, and at IHME, I am becoming grounded in the connections between data and health. We’re developing methodologies today that will become part of the foundation for this research in decades to come. My plan is to take those innovations and apply them at a government agency or a non-governmental organization where I can contribute to the improvement of global health.