Alumni Spotlight: Vanessa Da Costa
Category : #IamEmoryEPI
Vanessa Da Costa, GLEPI MPH, 2018
Global Epidemiology Fellow at CDC South Africa (PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship Program)
I am on the Quality Improvement Team at CDC South Africa. In this position I support the development of data collection and analysis tools for quality improvement projects. I also manage SIMS (Site Improvement Monitoring System) to ensure adequate data collection, visit completion, and quality assurance. I work with the Quality Improvement team to collaborate across CDC branches (prevention, care and treatment, etc) and support implementing partners in our overall goal of helping facilities reach their 90-90-90 PEPFAR targets through the use of quality improvement strategies.
From the classroom, I found my coursework in evidence-based decision making, data cleaning to be very helpful skills to my work in this position. Additionally, I am very glad I took the weekend EPI Info course, since I use that software on a daily basis! My work-study experience at Rollins is instrumental to my work now. While working with the Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group and my faculty advisor in the Department of Epidemiology, I was able to lead the data collection tool development and actively participate in the monitoring and evaluation of a postpartum family planning intervention. Those skills I gained while at RSPH are directly related to the work I am doing at CDC South Africa.
Additionally, take advantage of courses outside of your department. The qualitative coursework I’ve completed and accompanying practical experience is beneficial to my work in Quality Improvement. Another suggestion is to take advantage of out of classroom learning opportunities. Personally, my non-classroom experiences are just as valuable- if not more- than my in classroom ones. This includes work study, practicum, and Rollins mHealth Collaboration sessions on implementing digital health strategies!