After leaving START and completing an MPH degree in Epidemiology and Global Health at UW, Eli Kern joined Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) as an epidemiologist working in the Assessment, Policy Development, and Evaluation unit. While working at PHSKC, Eli has focused largely on evaluations of policy, systems and environment changes, including leading a multi-agency collaboration to develop a quality assurance and evaluation framework to assess the impacts of the Affordable Care Act in King County, leading a partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to produce the first county-level Burden of Disease study, and publishing an evaluation of a local school-based initiative's impact on youth obesity.
In receiving training in biology, nursing, and epidemiology, I have learned that academia excels at providing training in line with mainstream expectations. While I adored my epidemiologic training at UW, I noted that students are groomed to pursue academic and research careers, with less focus on preparing for entering public health practice. START filled this gap by offering a rare and timely opportunity to learn and apply hands-on research and analysis skills to public health practice and global health strategic development. START honed the literature review, strategic planning, oral and written communication, and rigorous analytic skills that I use daily as an epidemiologist to work towards improving the health and well-being of all King County residents.