Member Insight – Ghassan Hamra

What sparked your decision to become an epidemiologist?

-I was headed towards a bench science career in Environmental Health Sciences. Somehow I started dabbling with regression techniques for exposure assessment, and found that I enjoyed it quite a bit. I took it entirely too far, so I didn’t have much of a choice: I had to become an epidemiologist.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing epidemiologists in the next five years?

-For academic epidemiologists, probably funding opportunities. It seems to get tighter every year, and there are many more players on the field. It’s great to have so many people in epidemiology, but NIH’s funding structure needs some dramatic reconsideration to support them.

Do you have any pets?

-No, and I hope to keep it that way, despite my childrens’ request for a cat.

Why did you join SER? What keeps you coming back?

-It’s nice to stay in touch with fellow researchers, especially colleagues who I trained with. There’s also always something new to learn, and SER and the annual conference are a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of the field.

What advice do you give students who want to become epidemiologists?

-Don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t take any criticisms personally, even when they seem to be very personal.

Outside of epidemiology what do you enjoy doing?

-Mostly, I like to hang out with my wife and kids. I also do a good bit of cycling, and try to integrate my family into it as much as possible, at least as long as I can keep up with my sons.

What is something that not many people know about you?

-I do a good deal of housework, including electrical, plumbing, and framing, all of which I enjoy a great deal.