Juan Gudino, Graduate student, Epidemiology
Examines health inequities
• Hometown: Mason City, Iowa
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Nicole Novak, Assistant Research Scientist, Community and Behavioral Health
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? MPH in Epidemiology, May 2020
• Please describe your research: I research the health effects associated with policies regarding enforcement in the criminal legal and immigration system in the United States. Through this research, I hope to showcase that people are more than just data points—communities are filled with people who have their own unique desires, ambitions, and stories.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Rather than serving as research for “research-purposes”, this is research for justice. It’s important to consider the lived experiences of all people—this research aims to dismantle drivers of unequal harm and suffering in our communities to promote healing and growth in public systems throughout the country.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? Within my first semester of starting my MPH program. I reached out to Dr. Novak as I learned they had been trained in social epidemiology—a field I desired to pursue. After our first meeting, our passion for public health matched and I’ve helped with research ever since.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research at the University of Iowa has allowed me to showcase and grow my passion while applying my course work in real-life situations. I often reflect on the growth I’ve made since starting my research with Dr. Novak and I’ve come to realize that I’ve managed to grow as both a student and person. I could not be more thankful for the opportunity to assist our team in our research for transformation.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After I finish my MPH, I aspire to continue with research in equity and healing in public health. In the long-run, I plan to apply to doctorate programs in effort to continue with research in the criminal legal and immigration system in the United States. Perhaps I’ll even pursue a career in academia—this could not have been possible without this experience in research that I’ve had the privilege to assist in.
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