Category : PROspective

As the semester comes to a close, we wanted to take a look back at some of our favorite PROspectives over the last few months. As the COVID situation developed from an isolated outbreak to a full-blown pandemic, we have gotten insights from faculty, staff, and alumni on topics both pandemic and non-pandemic related. Here are some of our favorite articles from Spring 2020:


1. In Keep Calm and…, Dr. Timothy Lash started off the semester with a discussion about performing under pressure, be it for school, work, or almost any other context. Given the pressure that many of us are feeling now to turn our skill sets towards the global crisis or maybe just to survive final exams, the strategies laid out in this article have probably never been more applicable. The quote:


“Learning to use stress to your advantage is healthy and will give you a competitive edge. Like many career skills, it requires introspection and a commitment to being intentional about the goal.”



2. Next, we heard from Dr. Jodie Guest about the value of reading outside the classroom in The EPI-Curious Society. The quote:


“Learning from our past and talking about our different perspectives is fundamental to doing good work.”



3. At the beginning of February, Dr. Lauren Christiansen-Lindquist helped us to think about APEs differently in her article, Internships: Not just about fulfilling the APE requirement. The quote:


“You may have heard this from me before, but my motivation for pursuing a career in public health was driven by wanting to make a difference. The reason why I love the APE so much is that it affords our students the opportunity to make their mark on public health even before graduation.”



4. In a 3 part series, we heard from alum Roice Fulton (GLEPI, 2014) on careers in global public health with multinational organizations. In Part 1, Roice shared his path from GLEPI student graduating at the height of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa (more relevant now than ever), to a full-blown career at an unexpected employer. In Part 2, the focus turned toward the nuts and bolts of the global NGO industry and how to navigate your own entry post-graduation. Finally, Part 3 uncovered the role of teamwork and leadership in public health. The quote:


“You may be faced with a call to lead from unexpected places and at unexpected times, especially as we reckon with a pandemic that touches every facet of our work. We’ve got to be ready for the call when it comes.”



5. Epidemiology is not just about the 2×2 tables and the regression coefficients – in our profession, we will also be called to translate science into policy and action. To do that, writes Dr. Lash, we will need to Tell Influential Stories. The quote:


“To be influential, one must change minds. To change minds, those minds must be open to change.”



6. With our schedules packed and mid-semester productivity waning, ADAP Farah Dharamshi introduced the term single-tasking in her article Juggling 101. The quote:


“Our days are filled with a constant barrage of distractions, unexpected challenges and increasing responsibilities. But, the science and experience are clear – by doing less all at once, you will likely be able to accomplish much more.”



7. As Emory, along with nearly every university and employer nationwide, transitioned to remote learning and working, I shared my how-to guide for executing that transition in my article WFH: New Challenges & New Opportunities. The quote:


“This experience is likely to teach you a lot about yourself, your ability to self-manage, your discipline, and your needs as an employee – knowledge that will help you better understand your own strengths and weaknesses going forward.”



8. This Spring, the word ‘epidemiologist’ entered the public domain and left a lot of people outside our profession itching to learn more about what exactly we do. In Dr. Guest’s article The ‘Rockstars’ of 2020, we gained a new way of thinking about our role in society. The quote: 


“In our work, the forgotten past and the unrealized outcomes are our principal indicators of success. Long, healthy lives, not fanfare, signal our victory.”



9. As the need for (and public misunderstanding of) COVID models increased throughout the Spring, Dr. Samuel Jenness provided us with a background on modeling and its application in infectious disease epidemiology in his article Modeling COVID-19. The quote:


“In one sense, models prove their utility in the absence of bad news if they stimulate public action towards prevention, which may have an effect on the shape of the future epidemic curve. In the short-term, public consumers of models may not be able to fully determine the technical quality of that research. But it is important to understand that priorities of newspapers and politicians, and what they find useful in some models, may differ substantially from strong scientific principles.”



10. As the economic impact of COVID became clearer, students wondered what the pandemic meant for their career opportunities. In her article, Job Hunting in the time of COVID, ADAP Noni Bourne gave us some of her insights into the current hiring atmosphere. The quote:


“Human connection is taking on a completely different role in our lives. More than ever, it will be critical to know the person behind the email and to forge relationships that might not have otherwise been so central to success in the workplace.”



11. In Work and Study Efficiency in Difficult Times, Dr. Lash helped us understand that all days are not created equal and, especially today, challenges with motivation and work efficiency are both normal, and acceptable. The quote:


“It might also be helpful to envision what success will look like for you in the long term. We will all one day tell the stories of what happened to us and what we did during the COVID-19 pandemic. You will want to say that you did your part and put your shoulder into it as best you could. Imagine your future self and the story you will want to tell, and then make it so.



12. In our final PROspective article of the semester, Dr. Christiansen-Lindquist helped trace a path towards identifying APE opportunities during the pandemic in her article APEs: The Best Laid Plans… of 1st-Year Spring. The quote:


“Although your APE might not look like what you had planned, I would encourage you to view this as a speed bump, rather than a roadblock. Our capacity for resiliency is far greater than any of us can comprehend, and these challenging times have the potential to bring out creativity that we didn’t know that we had.”



From all of us on the editorial team, thanks so much for reading PROspective and congratulations for completing another semester! As we transition to our Summer publishing schedule, keep an eye out for more from PROspective going forward.

What was your favorite article this semester? Tell us in the comments!



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