Research Mentor: Natasha Halasa, M.D., M.P.H.
Thesis Topic: Acute Respiratory Infections and Antimicrobial Prescribing Practices Across Healthcare Settings
Prior to pursuing my PhD at Vanderbilt, I was employed at Florida Department of Health as an Epidemiologist with the Healthcare-Associated Infections Program, where I conducted infection control assessments across varying levels of healthcare facilities in response to clusters and outbreaks of novel multidrug-resistant organisms. In 2018, I completed Florida’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Fellowship, working apart of the Epidemiology team in Orange County, FL. During my time as a Florida EIS Fellow, I lead several outbreak investigations; most notably an outbreak of Verona Integron-Encoded Metallo-Beta-Lactamase-Producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa. I obtained my Master of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology and Global Communicable Diseases from the University of South Florida. My main research interests include containment of infectious diseases, with an emphasis on infection control implementation measures. Currently, I have the pleasure of working with Dr. Halasa on pediatric respiratory diseases and the interventions associated with decreasing respiratory infections.
I chose to pursue my PhD in Epidemiology at Vanderbilt for a multitude of reasons, one of which was attributed to the strong focus on causal inference and biostatistics. In addition, I was attracted to not only the small class sizes, but the curriculum tailored around using data derived from your research team to apply newly learned concepts. After interviews, I had no doubt that Vanderbilt was my top choice because of the overwhelming support from the program administration, faculty, and my mentor Dr. Halasa.