Wei-Jen Chen, a third-year doctoral student in biostatistics and epidemiology, traces his passion for public health to an awakening, of sorts, that happened while he was an undergraduate student in Taiwan, his native country. “I entered the Gene and Elements Species Laboratory at Taipei Medical University to learn how to apply my textbook learning to research,” Chen explained. “This experience changed my thinking about public health. I now believe that public health is not simply a title affiliated with doctors and hospitals, but that public health initiatives can improve health promotion and disease prevention, and reduce the burden of disease on the health care system.” Chen’s previous research focused on arsenic and urologic cancer in Taiwan. He currently works with Dr. Jennifer D. Peck for a case-control study evaluating environmental exposure mixtures and gestational diabetes in Oklahoma.
“Hudson Fellowship will be instrumental in helping me achieve my career goal, to conduct research on environmental factors and pediatric and maternal health," he said. As a doctoral candidate in epidemiology, Chen believes with this support can let him receive more professional training to expand in depth and breadth in his doctoral research. Chen has also received the Hudson COPH Advisory Board Scholarship to assist in his study. In addition to his research accomplishments, he also serves as a teaching assistant in the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Department and Secretary for the Epidemiologic Research Student Association. He believes such an experience will better prepare him as a professional.