What is your current job?
Director of Global Implementation Science at ViiV Healthcare.
Describe your work and why you find it rewarding/challenging.
Globally, over 34 million individuals are living with HIV. In 2021, 1.5 million people acquired HIV, and over half a million people died from AIDS-related illnesses. But this should not be! We have HIV treatment and prevention options that work, but not everyone knows about, accesses, and/or uses these options for a number of reasons.
My work provides me the rewarding challenge of identifying strategies to help foster the uptake of proven, evidence-based HIV medicines and interventions into practice. I work with multi-disciplinary teams and stakeholders globally to overcome barriers to effectively introducing and implementing innovative HIV medicines into clinical care, so that individuals who need or desire these medicines can access and use them, with the ultimate goal of ending of HIV epidemic.
Do you have a favorite YSPH experience you can share?
I was honored to receive a Downs Fellowship while at YSPH. With this fellowship, I traveled to Jamaica to intern at the University of the West Indies at the Pediatrics AIDS clinic. I learned a lot over the course of the summer about the barriers to ending pediatric HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. From this internship, I wrote and published my first peer-review manuscript. Moreover, my mentor and I had open and honest discussions about my professional and career development and trajectory. I left the experience emboldened to pursue a PhD in public health in hopes of addressing some of the gaps that persisted in HIV.
What advice do you have for current/future students?
Take advantage of the multiple opportunities available across the Yale University system to explore courses and build relationships. It might sound cliché, but Yale is a gateway to the world! If there is a topic you would like to explore, someone on campus can assist you or can connect you to someone elsewhere who can. Go for it and ask!
Leave the program with core skills that can be transferred across industries. Embrace the challenge of the methodological courses. Public health is all around you and can be found in traditional and non-traditional spaces. Don’t have a closed mind to spaces where you can make a public health impact.
Career and professional development does not start at the job search stage. It starts from the first day your start your program.
Were there any faculty/staff mentors who influenced your YSPH experience?
Whether it was through their course work, working with them on projects, serving as my advisor, or servicing as a mentor, faculty at both YSPH and the School of Medicine helped enriched my YSPH experience. These were Trace Kershaw, Elijah Paintsil, and Marcella Nunez-Smith.