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Profiles in Public Health

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Lucas Buyon

PhD, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  1. What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?

Working for The Carter Center in college on projects involving  Neglected Tropical Diseases  (NTDs) has been so far the most rewarding part of my studies! This experience illustrated to me the power of public health to effect lasting change. Particularly,  working on NTDs  illustrated to me how infectious disease can cause suffering beyond the clinical impact of an  infection  on a single patient, and there are radiating  consequences of infectious disease that affect maternal and child health, economic development, social factors, and mental health.  Furthermore, this experience helped convince me that public health was the ideal career path for me, and showed me the power of the field to  impact lives on a grander and wider scale.

  1. What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?

The public health consequences of climate change is an important area of research that is becoming increasingly important as we try to understand the health the effects of climate change in real time. Climate change will dramatically affect health around the world, with impacts ranging from food shortages, overstressed healthcare  and disaster response systems, increased spread of infectious diseases, and mental health consequences of such drastic change. Tackling such challenges will require interdisciplinary solutions and sustained political and economic support  for research and implementation.  As such, researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers will need to work together to develop and enact impactful solutions to climate change and its public health consequences.

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