• What is your degree program and expected graduation date? PhD Candidate in Health Services and Policy, May 2019
• Please describe your research: I study how health policy and access to health care may influence outcomes for adolescents and young adults ages 15-39 with cancer. Some of my research has focused on rural disparities, receipt of an efficient and accurate diagnosis, appropriate and timely clinical trial enrollment, and the ability to preserve fertility prior to initiating potentially fertility-harming treatment.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Adolescents and young adults with cancer face many barriers to accessing health services. These barriers have contributed to a lack of similar improvement in survival for the past 30 years, when compared to those older or younger diagnosed with cancer. We need to better understand what drives differences in this age group so that efficient and effective health policy may be developed to address these barriers and close the survival gap.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I was immediately involved in research as a research assistant for my advisor, Dr. Keith Mueller, the day after my departmental orientation. Instantaneously, I felt part of the team and was able to provide helpful information.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Due to my research involvement at Iowa, I was able to apply and receive two Iowa Cancer Consortium grants while a PhD student. In collaboration with fellow team members, I was able to be the principal investigator on two funded studies, where we implemented and studied practice changes affecting adolescent and young adults with cancer in Iowa. Without my research experience at the University of Iowa, I would not have been successful in earning those grants.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? Ultimately, I would like to pursue a career as a faculty member at an academic medical center specializing in health services research focused on cancer. I am particularly interested in issues impacting adolescents and young adults with cancer.
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Keith Mueller, PhD
• Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
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