Rachel Pomazal

Credentials: PhD Candidate Epidemiology

Year Started: 2021

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

What are your areas of interest within population health sciences? Environmental epidemiology, especially relating to climate change, and chronic diseases.

Interest Statement: I completed my BS in Environmental Sciences with a certificate in Global Health here at UW, and I found myself wanting to combine the two. After working in an ecology lab during my undergraduate studies, I realized I was more interested in the human health implications of what I was doing than the ecological aspects. This shifted my focus toward population health, and more specifically environmental health and environmental epidemiology. Using environmental sciences to work through problems in public health is the culmination of my education and research experiences. In addition to population health, I am passionate about sexual violence prevention, and serve as a helpline volunteer at the Dane County Rape Crisis Center.

What experiences in your life led you to study population health/epidemiology? Working in an ecology lab and more broadly studying environmental sciences and global health got me thinking about the human health implications of what I was studying. I knew I wanted to further understand how and why the environment impacted human health, and how health outcomes could be improved within these environments.

Why did you choose UW-Madison for your degree? I chose UW-Madison for my degree because I already knew that I loved the campus, and because there are several faculty here who focus specifically on environmental epidemiology. I knew I would find a community of like-minded scientists working towards goals that were similar to mine.

What do you hope/plan to do with your degree? I hope to either go down the academia track to do research, or to work within governance structures to inform data-driven policy.