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New Faculty Friday: Yasmmyn Salinas, genetic epidemiologist, obesity specialist, social entrepreneur

November 15, 2019
by Colin Poitras

The Yale School of Public Health proudly welcomes 13 new tenure track faculty this academic year. These individuals bring a broad range of research, scholarship, and teaching expertise to the school and will be instrumental in helping us address many of the public health challenges of the 21st century.

Today we spotlight, Yasmmyn Salinas, assistant professor in the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology. Salinas has a Ph.D. (2019) and an M.P.H. (2014) in chronic disease epidemiology from YSPH. She has a B.S. in molecular cellular and developmental biology from Yale College (2010). Salinas did her postdoctoral training in Associate Professor Andrew DeWan’s lab at YSPH and she is a former McDougal Graduate Teaching Fellow.

Q: Describe your primary academic focus or research specialty?

YS: My research is focused on the intergenerational transmission of obesity and its comorbidities. To date, I have approached this issue from a genetic lens. I have conducted genetic epidemiologic studies to examine cross-ethnic differences in the genetic determinants of body mass index and to elucidate the shared genetic determinants of asthma and body mass index. Currently, I am exploring the interactions between genetic factors and early life risk factors in relation to obesity and other metabolic outcomes across the life course.

Q: What are your long-term goals in public health?

YS: My long-term goals are to advance our understanding of obesity etiology and to translate epidemiologic evidence into interventions that prevent and manage obesity. I would like my work to (1) clarify to what extent prevention in early life impacts obesity-related behaviors and outcomes in childhood and throughout the life course and (2) inform the design and implementation of obesity interventions, specifically those targeting children and employing cross-sector strategies to support behavioral changes at the individual, family and systems level.

Q: How will the resources available at the Yale School of Public Health help you achieve your goals?

YS: The Yale School of Public Health has been my home since 2012 (I am a graduate of the M.P.H and Ph.D. programs). During my time here, I have established collaborations with faculty in the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology and in the Yale Center for Perinatal, Pediatric and Environmental Epidemiology. I hope to leverage these collaborations to achieve my goals in public health.

Q: Tell us something about yourself away from public health (E.g., hobbies, interests, pursuits, etc.)?

YS: I am the chief data officer of Source Development Hub, a New Haven-based social enterprise that focuses on providing software-based solutions to housing for low-resource communities.

Submitted by Sayuri Gavaskar on November 14, 2019