Not far from the ancient ruins and majestic views of Machu Picchu, Peru, CRUSADA alumna Elena Cyrus aims to improve global health through her work in the Yale University Global Health Equity Scholars Program.

Working in Lima, Peru, as a Yale University-Global Health Fellow for Asociacion Civil Impacta Salud y Educacion (IMPACTA), Cyrus is applying the training she received under the CRUSADA Student Scholars in Health Disparities program and in a post-doctoral program that is further enhancing her training.

Below, Cyrus describes in her own words the valuable training and experience she gained from her work at CRUSADA. She details the mentorship and beneficial aspects of the training program, along with describing her current and future research endeavors:

“I came to CRUSADA as a third year PhD candidate, and was mentored by Dr. Mary Jo Trepka and Dr. Mario De La Rosa from the time I started until I completed my PhD requirements. For my dissertation, I used data from the Foreign Born Immigrant Study at CRUSADA, completing longitudinal analysis to examine the influence of social capital on substance use and HIV risk behavior among Recent Latino Immigrants. At CRUSADA, I was not only mentored by Dr. Trepka and Dr. De La Rosa, but I had the opportunity to work with other experienced researchers, including other epidemiologists, statisticians, and social work and public health professionals. There was a collegial environment at the Center among the student trainees and professors that allowed us to develop rapport and a professional network, one that I still utilize. Since graduating, I continue to collaborate with other PhD graduates who also trained at the Center. During my time there, I presented at scientific conferences both within and outside of the United States and increased my publication record. My training at CRUSADA helped me to obtain a dissertation year grant, which was awarded to me by the Florida International University Graduate School in my final year. Upon the successful defense of my dissertation, I was accepted into the competitive Fogarty funded post-doctoral fellowship through Yale University as part of the Global Health Equity Scholars Program, which aims to train junior scientists as global health researchers.”

“As a Yale University post-doctoral Global Health Fellow, I have been assigned to work at Asociación Civil Impacta Salud y Educación (IMPACTA) which is a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Lima, Peru. My work at IMPACTA focuses on HIV risk behavior and Alcohol Use Disorders among men who have sex with men (MSM), transgendered persons, and commercial sex workers in Lima. My training at CRUSADA was instrumental in my placement at Lima, and the skills I acquired at CRUSADA complimented my post-doctoral research plan for the fellowship. My experience at CRUSADA has been and undoubtedly will continue to be invaluable in my career development as a global health researcher and epidemiologist.”

For more information on the Yale University Global Health Equity Scholars, Peru, click here.