Elizabeth Kelly

Elizabeth Kelly, MS '16

One day, I knew the only way I could use the knowledge I had gained as a clinician and educator in the field of woman’s health was through a deeper understanding of epidemiology. I have committed my career to the care and understanding of women who live in poverty. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, which has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the United States. The women I have provided medical care for my entire life carry the primary burden of this loss. I decided that the best way to utilize my knowledge of the social factors, which I believed contributed to infant death, was to be able to understand the scientific knowledge and also have the skills to contribute to future research.

I decided that if I was going to go back to school I would only go to the best the country has to offer and that is Columbia University. So, I jumped off the edge and into a master program. It took courage and deep resolve. I was concerned that executive meant "push you through" at other programs, so I chose a place that I knew would not allow that to happen and has highly skilled educators. They did not disappoint! I worked very hard and long hours to complete the coursework. The professors are so smart, so intense, and so driven. Perfect.

I entered the program at the age of 55. I had a new Mac, yet was always a PC person and on the first weekend of class, I did not know what “right click” meant. My classmate respectfully guided me to an understanding. Our graduating class was a diverse group of champions for each other. My hope for you as you read this is that if you hear the voice inside you that beckons you to epidemiology you will respond without fear. Onward with courage.

* Elizabeth Kelly received The William Farr Award in Epidemiology, which recognizes exceptional commitment to understanding or addressing the causes of social inequalities in health and for achievement and promise in the field of Epidemiology.

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