SERforum

 

Join Andrew Olshan, for SERforum Live!

“Career and Professional Development”

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December 5th, 12pm EST

 

Do you ever find yourself struggling to figure out a question about epidemiologic methods, or other topics in epidemiology, and don’t know who to ask? The SERforum allows for individuals to answer questions that come up in our daily work around substantive and methodological topics in epidemiology.
 
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SERforum - Live with Dr. Andrew Olshan

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I will provide a more general answer, sometimes it depends on your interests, desire to be a PI, work with students, etc.  Academic steering typically offer the opportunity to develop your own research agenda, teach, work with students, and in some cases have a more flexible work schedule.  Government positions tend to be a bit more hierarchical and in some cases may not offer as much independence.  But there may be more stability and mission-driven work in governmental agencies.  Typically doesn't include as much teaching (or any), but can offer working with students and postdocs on projects.  I am sure others will want to weigh in 🙂  Andy

Quote from Magdalena Cerda on December 5, 2018, 10:06 am

Thank you for doing this, Dr. Olshan. What are your thoughts on epi phd grads doing a post-doc? Is that necessary nowadays -- for what types of jobs?

Thank you for the question. Postdoctoral fellowships have become much more common in epidemiology than when I started out.  There are several good reasons to consider a postdoc: 1) expand your CV through new lead-authored papers and developing a grant proposal (K or R or other type).  Success in these benchmarks can increase your chances of a faculty or other higher level position.  Also, a postdoc may be helpful if you are switching areas and need a track record and additional expertise in a new area.  Keep in mind that there are still many entry-level epidemiology faculty, NIH, and industry positions that do not require a postdoc.  You should also carefully consider those.  Even applying and getting an interview, even without an offer, is a valuable experience.

Andy

Quote from Augusto Cesar De Moraes on December 5, 2018, 10:09 am

Good morning for everyone
Prof. Olshan, how we can measure or what can indicate if our networking improves our work?

Thank you for the question.  Look for outcomes such as invitations to present at their institution, collaborate on a projects, serve on a committee, review a paper, etc.  Often times, you may need to follow-up with a note, "It was nice to meet you... (followed by a targeted request if you have one)..

Quote from Andrew F Olshan on December 5, 2018, 10:12 am

I will provide a more general answer, sometimes it depends on your interests, desire to be a PI, work with students, etc.  Academic steering typically offer the opportunity to develop your own research agenda, teach, work with students, and in some cases have a more flexible work schedule.  Government positions tend to be a bit more hierarchical and in some cases may not offer as much independence.  But there may be more stability and mission-driven work in governmental agencies.  Typically doesn't include as much teaching (or any), but can offer working with students and postdocs on projects.  I am sure others will want to weigh in 🙂  Andy

I'd love to hear thoughts on this from SER members who work in government, non-profits, or the private sector! Anyone out there who wants to weigh in?

Hello, first time here also. I believe you were apart of the dissertation workshop in 2017 which I was apart of. My dissertation circled around the idea of multiple determinants; however, I didn't have the expertise to find/learn/do a multiple determinant specific analysis (feedback at the workshop). Do you have any suggestions for post-grad learning?

Quote from yeyi.zhu@kp.org on December 5, 2018, 10:10 am

Hi Andy, thanks for doing this! A frequently asked question from SPC members: nowadays many junior faculty positions in academia require to already have a funded grant such as K before applying, any suggestions for PhD students and postdocs regarding the balance between publications and grant writing?

Good point.  In my experience, it is true that applicants for faculty jobs have an advantage having K or other grant.  While a grant student get any experience you can with grant writing, even small local grants.  A postdoc is a major route to bump up pubs and to develop a solid K grant or other application (look for postdoc programs with a structured grant writing structure).  Thanks,

Andy

 

Quote from Kristen N. Arthur on December 5, 2018, 10:19 am

Hello, first time here also. I believe you were apart of the dissertation workshop in 2017 which I was apart of. My dissertation circled around the idea of multiple determinants; however, I didn't have the expertise to find/learn/do a multiple determinant specific analysis (feedback at the workshop). Do you have any suggestions for post-grad learning?

Thank you for the question.  I would look for models (publications, projects) that are in this niche and seek out those folks for any leads on training.  Look to any of the summer courses that may cover this topic.  Let me know if need further information and I can try to facilitate some leads. Andy

I have a question that applies to all stages of one's career. How would you advise people prepare for a job interview in academia? Does that differ if you're at the beginning, middle, or senior stages of an academic career, and if so, how?

Hi Dr. Olshan,

Thanks for doing this! To what extent do you predict that new tools for analyzing big data (like machine learning and natural language processing) will be incorporated into epi research? Should epidemiologists (or epidemiologists in training) dedicate time to learning how to apply these tools in their own research?

When I was chair at UNC I would have to consider this question for new faculty: should I do in my first year as an assistant professor?

Devote dedicated time to getting oriented and networking with other faculty and key staff.  Go to seminars not only in your area, but also other areas, to get a broad feel for the group and their research and other activities.  Meet with the chair (or chief/leader) early on to develop a professional relationship and learn more about her/his expectations for success. Seek out mentors!  Mentoring is critical for advancement and overall satisfaction. If there is a structured mentoring program engage early.  Seek mentors at different levels (e.g., faculty recently tenured, not just senior faculty).  If there isn’t a system work with the leader to develop one for you.  Begin to develop a time management system.

 Andy

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