Member Insight – Amira Aker

What sparked your decision to become an epidemiologist?
I had always been interested in understanding the multi-factorial causes of disease for the purpose of prevention. So epidemiology appealed to me because it was a fantastic tool to help us understand the interlinks between various exposures, be it chemical, psychosocial, or community-based structures.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing epidemiologists in the next five years?
I think trust in the public health system has been impacted by the COVID-19 response. There were plenty of inconsistent and confusing messages worldwide that did not factor in human behavior, and it will take a lot of effort and effective communication strategies to gain trust again.

Why did you join SER? What keeps you coming back?
I wanted to join a society of epidemiologists who were at the cutting edge of science and methodology. I was also impressed by the strong researchers in SER who were committed to breaking down racist structures by defining and measuring them using epidemiological tools.

What advice do you give students who want to become epidemiologists?
To be open to interdisciplinary research and read studies outside their own specialties.

What is something that not many people know about you?
The kitchen is my place of comfort. If I’m upset- I’ll cook. If I’m happy- I’ll bake a four-layer cake. I currently can’t figure why my R code won’t run- so I will soon be baking.