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Hannah Gorman (SBS)

Epidemiology Scholar at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Career Goal

Hannah on a hiking trail with her dog Samson.

My long-term career goal continues to evolve, but abstractly, it is to use epidemiological methods to address the social determinants of health. I am really interested in leveraging public health research to promote health equity, particularly among adolescent and young-adult populations in the areas of mental and sexual health.

Internship Outline

I was an Epidemiology Scholar at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), working in the Research and Evaluation Unit of the Bureau of Epidemiology Services. I worked with the social epidemiology team to research dimensions of food insecurity and measures with which to study them. I identified dimensions that were not being studied adequately by DOHMH, found existing variables in DOHMH surveys that could be used to study those dimensions and proposed a more intentional approach to variable selection for future surveys.

Value of Experience

Poster collage from weekly internship seminars with presentations from people representing different aspects of New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

I am interested in social epidemiology, so it was really valuable to observe people thinking critically about how to address the social determinants of health through the collection and analysis of epidemiological data. Working as a public servant does not always appear glamorous on the outside, so getting to know the smart, dedicated people who are applying public health research to real-world problems showed me how rewarding that work can be. My internship helped me to become more comfortable with several statistical software packages, concept mapping, survey design and the process of coordinating and collaborating with multiple stakeholders, all of which will be useful in my academic and professional life.

Best Moment/Experience

I spent a lot of time on a literature review of the dimensions of food insecurity early on during my internship. Later in the summer, a Health Data for New York City (HD4NYC) working group on food insecurity decided to use my review as the basis for some work they are doing this fall. HD4NYC is a public-private research partnership that brings together academic and health department researchers and facilitates access to health department data in order to advance policy-relevant research to address health inequity. It was super rewarding to have my work used to further that effort.

Funding Source

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.