After completing her undergraduate degree, Harim Yoo worked on a public health study at the University of Michigan evaluating how cultural differences between doctors and patients affected differences in outcomes in children with asthma. She quickly realized she was limited in participating in the work and decided to pursue graduate studies.
Harim was attracted to the Yale School of Public Health because of the Public Health Modeling Concentration. Torn between a broad set of interests that includes infectious disease, health of immigrants, health policy and more, modeling, says Harim, “connects everything.”
During the summer, she interned with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, headquartered in Geneva. There she had her first experience working as a consultant, evaluating and developing policy recommendations for future strategies by the organization to counteract diseases with epidemic potential, such as ebola, zika and chikungunya. It was rewarding to feel like she contributed, she said.
Back for her final year in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases and Modeling Concentration, Harim continues to marry infectious disease and policy work into her thesis, for which she is investigating vaccine efficacy for enteric diseases in lower/middle income countries. Many factors are thought to contribute to the lower efficacy of some vaccines, including malnutrition, chronic infection and poor sanitation, so from a modeling point of view, one can look at both policy adjustments and infection control in crafting responses, says Harim.