#WeAreEmoryEpi: Meet Paul Elish
Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI
Paul Elish is a second-year MPH student interested in chronic disease and spatial epi. He told us more about the research projects is involved in both stateside and internationally, along with his favorite parts about studying at Rollins and his hobbies during the pandemic months!
Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.
I did my undergrad degree at Yale with a double major in Latin American Studies and biology.
What are your primary research interests?
I’m interested in chronic disease epidemiology, spatial epi, and implementation science. I really enjoy exploring the intersection between public health and sociology.
How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?
I’ve been finding new ways to stay connected with friends. Some favs: doing New Yorker crosswords on partner mode and doing a workout challenge that a friend and I turned into a virtual board game. Also, shoutout to my amazing, unstoppable Rollins Biketober team 😀
Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?
I’m excited about my thesis with my faculty mentor, Julie Gazmararian, that’s exploring associations between physical activity and academic achievement among elementary schoolers in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Gwinnett is extremely interesting because of its incredible diversity and importance as a political swing county. I’ve also had the opportunity to conduct interesting analyses for the spatial epi and bias analysis courses I’m currently taking, including a spatial analysis on COVID dynamics in Peru.
What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?
The Epi Department has done a great job creating an integrated epi/biostats sequence; it has been rewarding to watch our epi courses build off of each other. Also, I’ve loved getting to know amazing people across all of Rollins’ departments.
What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?
One of the great things about Emory is how it has so many different rigorous academic offerings, so I recommend that first-year MPH students consider exploring Emory’s other schools. I honed my French in an undergrad French class during my first semester, and it was a great way to strengthen a skill while connecting with a completely different part of Emory.
What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?
I’m about halfway through “The Old Drift,” a novel set in Zambia from the early 20th century to the present. It’s especially interesting to read because I spent a year working at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia before coming to Rollins. It’s long, but the author does a great job weaving together characters from Zambia’s many ethnic groups.
What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?
(1) I developed a love of backpacking over the summer and really enjoyed exploring trails in Georgia and North Carolina.
(2) History has always been one of my favorite subjects, so a great way to distract me is to talk to me about something like the French Revolution, old Japanese novels, or the history of Atlanta.
(3) Last night I got chased by a wild turkey while biking near my house in Atlanta. A great, mildly-scary-but-mostly-funny reminder that Atlanta really is a city in the forest!
Thanks to Paul for taking the time to give us a peek at his background and interests! Tune back in next week for another #WeAreEmoryEPI student spotlight!