Constance Carroll, MPH, MBA
What degree program(s) did you complete?
Certificate in Public Health and MPH (dual concentrations in Biostatistics and Epidemiology), 2012.
What attracted you to the field of public health?
My first job was as a Research Analyst at the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission. When I started working there, I was in a poly body cast from my neck to below my waist due to a broken back. It was my first real job after teaching Economics and Finance at colleges in west Texas and New Mexico. It was much more fulfilling; at the Spinal Cord Commission it felt like what I was doing might actually make a difference.
What is your current job title and place of employment?
Biostatistician at Yale University College of Medicine.
How would you describe a typical work day?
I work with a dataset of a cohort of 5.4 million veterans in the Veterans Health Administration system who have a musculoskeletal disorder. Originally, I was working through the logic of building the cohort data base. Now, I work on various projects submitted by principal investigators across the VA system and other universities. A typical day might involve tailoring the data to match the study the PI is undertaking and then modeling that data through logistic regression, mixed models, factor analysis, survival analysis … whatever the project entails. I also am working on a clinical trial, so occasionally I take some time to do some work on that.
What is your advice for students considering a similar career path?
I have found that it’s really easy to learn the steps to running a model, or doing various analyses. However, if your logic isn’t sound, you’ll find yourself flailing. So, I focus more on making sure I have the basic theory and logic of the problem understood before starting any analysis. Also, I never thought I could end up at Yale, but I put myself out there (in this case an APHA website resume post), and here I am.
What experiences or learning gained at UAMS or elsewhere have you found most beneficial professionally or helped you qualify for what you do?
I had done doctoral work in stats while working on a PhD in finance several years earlier, and that, combined with the more advanced biostatistics classes at UAMS, probably did the most to qualify me for what I do. To me, statistics is basically math and logic. If you have those two down, along with a good background in theory and implementation from coursework, you will be successful.
What do you find most rewarding about your work in public health?
Right now I’m working on projects to find ways to better treat pain among veterans. If you can help relieve pain, that’s pretty rewarding.