Please tell us about yourself

Gowri Madhavan, originally from India, received an MPH in Epidemiology from the College of Public Health in 2006. Her academic advisor was Randall E. Harris. She also has a BS in nutrition and public health from Delhi University in Delhi, India.

Briefly explain your job responsibilities.

I work for two divisions: The Family Health Division and Epidemiology and Assessment Division. I perform data analysis using advanced statistical principles for county projects and provide data for reports for the State of California on federal grant programs and grant proposals for the county. I also organize vital statistics on birth, mortality and morbidity data that are published as county reports.

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What do you enjoy about your work?

I enjoy working with statistical applications. It gives me tremendous satisfaction when I apply my knowledge of epidemiological and biostatistical principles to get the desired outcomes. This aspect was learned from the wonderful program at CPH. I also enjoy the team work and collaboration between the two divisions.

What’s challenging about it?

With most governments and in our county, it is very bureaucratic and sometimes it is challenging to deal with the micro management at different levels of hierarchy.

What’s one thing you learned at the College of Public Health that’s helped you in “the real world”?

Fundamental knowledge of statistics. The CPH trained me very well using several statistical packages like SPSS, SAS and STATA. I highly appreciate College of Public Health Dean Stanley Lemeshow and Professor Emeritus Melvin L. Moeschberger. Their teaching is so phenomenal that it made an impact on the way I approach statistics. In fact, I still use my notes from their class. Their lectures gave me an experience to analyze statistical issues in the real world. The CPH approach to statistics is highly commendable. This training is a big asset for me at work. I also deeply appreciate the help given by the IT team, especially Don Shymanski (Director of Information Systems) and Michael Sabatino (System Manager of Information Systems). Their continued support to the computer lab made all those long hours very productive.

What public health issues concern you the most?

Public heath priorities especially related to children is of concern for me. Of special importance are birth outcomes, mortality and insurance status.

What advice do you have for others interested in pursuing a career in public health?

It may seem very cumbersome to deal with biostatistics initially, especially if you have 20 credits per quarter. But, it is worth every second! I believe that CPH has one of the best programs in biostatistics and learning the different software packages has their own advantages. There is a big demand for epidemiologists and biostaticians in today’s marketplace and you will find a job easily once you graduate from the CPH.

Do you have a fond OSU memory to share?

I have many great memories of my friends at CPH. They have been so very instrumental in assisting with my career growth. OSU has been a very lucky place for me. I worked with people who recognized my individuality and respected me for my hard work. I would like to recognize Katherine Renick (coordinator of grant funds), Ashida Sato (Post Doctoral with NIH), Angela Allen (Doctoral student) and Lori Bolton (Assistant Director, Practice Education and Career Services). These people made a difference to me! The dearest memory was that I met my husband, Raj, who came to OSU to see me for the first time! We met on campus and he participated in my graduation, after which he proposed to me. We got married in June 2007.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

CPH is an excellent institution and has a very strong alumni network. Thanks to Lori Bolton who referred me to an OSU CPH alumni member in Orange County that gave me leads to positions in the County.