Alumni spotlight: Emily Anderson
Emily Anderson, a May 2007 graduate of the Department of Health Care Ethics’s PhD program, currently works at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to starting the PhD program, she worked in public health—a field that usually doesn’t draw many bioethics students.
“I came to the program with an MPH and had several years of experience in doing public health intervention research,” says Anderson. “I wanted to continue with what I was interested in—empirical research in ethics, public health ethics and research ethics—not necessarily the issues people think of when they hear the word ‘bioethics.’ I always tried to keep one foot in public health throughout my PhD coursework.”
Following her three years at Saint Louis University, Emily worked at the American Medical Association, first as a fellow, and then as a research associate/educational specialist. “As a fellow, I was involved in many projects with staff throughout the Ethics Standards unit related to professionalism, privacy, health disparities, communication, and human enhancement, among other things,” she says. “I finished my dissertation during my fellowship year. Then I stayed on another six months, working on educational programs for medical students, residents, and practicing physicians.”
Emily recently started a new position at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is currently Project Director for the CDC-funded Illinois Prevention Research Center and is involved in several community-based research projects aimed at reducing health disparities across Illinois.
When asked about her plans for the future, she says, “I’m happy to be back in a research-intensive academic environment. I plan to start working on some projects related to research ethics once I get settled in.”
“I thought about getting a PhD in public health, but I’m glad I did health care ethics instead,” she says. “The certificate in empirical research allowed me to develop some skills in statistical analysis, but I also got a solid grounding in analyzing ethical problems and applying ethical theory. The faculty are really great. I worked closely with Jim Dubois while I was at SLU and have collaborated recently with him and with Ana Iltis on writing projects. All the faculty members have been very supportive, even after I graduated. It’s good to know that I can email them with research questions or for career advice. They’re a great resource.”