Dan Corry

Dan Corry, PhD student, epidemiology

Surveys resiliency after head trauma

“Mr. Corry is ambitious and mature, and dedicated to the field of public health. He is on a path to be a leader in the field, particularly in injury and violence prevention, where he is establishing research expertise in traumatic brain injury (TBI) among veteran populations.” -Carri Casteel, professor, occupational and environmental health

Hometown: Wantagh, New York

Faculty mentor/advisor: Jim Torner, PhD, professor, epidemiology, College of Public Health

What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD, epidemiology, May 2023

Please describe your research: My research focuses on health outcomes after traumatic brain injury, with a particular focus on mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Currently, I examine these outcomes in female military personnel, and explore how other factors, such as economic consequences of COVID-19, affect the relationship between head injury and mental illness. I also study how stress from deployment to combat zones among those with a history of brain injury affects mental illness post-deployment.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Even a single traumatic brain injury or concussion can have detrimental long-term effects on cognition, mental health, and quality of life. Through this research, we will be able to better identify individuals who are at increased risk of new or worsening mental illness after a head injury due to external factors such as pandemic-related unemployment. This will help to tailor interventions to prevent mental illness among the most vulnerable in an already high-risk population of military servicewomen.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? Immediately. The faculty at the College of Public Health are very open to collaboration with students, and I was able to hit the ground running on a couple of projects that focused on trauma systems research and traumatic brain injury in global settings. My research with military personnel didn’t come until later!

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? I’ve always been a very independent person, but research here has taught me how important collaboration is to successful science. I’ve grown to rely on the expertise of the faculty here as I advance my own research projects. Their knowledge has been crucial in both ensuring that my current projects are scientifically sound and in shaping the researcher I have become and will become.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? By the time this is released, I’ll probably be deep into applying for postdoctoral fellowships. After a couple of years as a postdoc, I want to work in academia as a professor, combining an opportunity to expand upon my research with the opportunity to pass on knowledge to the next group of budding public health researchers and practitioners.

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