Wei-Jen Chen, a Ph.D. graduate 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. During his fellowship, Chen worked for Dr. Jennifer D. Peck for a case-control study evaluating environmental exposure mixtures and gestational diabetes in Oklahoma.
“The Hudson Fellowship was 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, the support of the fellowship provided dedicated professional training to expand in depth and breadth in his doctoral research. Chen also received the Hudson COPH Advisory Board Scholarship. In addition to his research accomplishments, he also served 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.