2nd Year MPH: Gerard Portela

2nd Year MPH: Gerard Portela

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Gerard Portela!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

I studied psychology at Rice University in Houston, TX and graduated in 2016.

What are your primary research interests?

I am primarily interested in infectious disease epidemiology. Specifically, I am interested in infectious disease dynamics and spatial dependence of infectious diseases.

What are you looking forward to this Spring Semester?

I’m looking forward to finishing my thesis, graduation in May, and figuring out plans for next year. I’m also really looking forward to visiting Houston for the rodeo!

Are there any exciting projects or experiences you are involved in right now?

My main focus has been my thesis on the surveillance of Staph aureus in Atlanta communities. I am looking at individual and neighborhood factors associated with these infections. I am also working on a project measuring mental health outcomes related to menstruation practices in women in rural India.

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Rollins?

I’ve really enjoyed being able to get involved in a variety of projects ranging from surveillance to WASH to infectious disease.

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH students?

Take the time and put in the work to find a thesis you are really interested in and want to work on. It helps a lot!

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I am currently reading ‘The Outsider’ by Stephen King. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Rumble with Michael Moore for all things politics.

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

  1. I keep a spread sheet of every restaurant, coffee shop, and bar I have been to and want to go to in Atlanta with what to try at each.
  2. I’ve seen every movie nominated for best picture in the last 5 years.
  3. I lived in NH for 12 years, but have never been to Canada.


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