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Spotlight on 🔦Vanessa Rodriguez🔦

Vanessa Rodriguez PhD Student at UCL


What does your job actually entail?

I work in the Statistics department at UCL looking at how we can generalise results from clinical trials to target populations through the use of machine learning methods. From this I want to develop methods that lead to fair treatment decisions.

My day to day usually involves sitting at a computer, reading academic papers and implementing methods for causal inference (and fixing my broken code).

Why did you join the DSxHE community?

I joined because health equity is a key topic in my PhD, and this was a good way to get involved with the community alongside my day to day work.

When not at work you can be found...

I picked up knitting last year, so most of my free time is spent working on a jumper/cardigan while watching Netflix.


What’s your interest in data science and/or health equity?

Ethnic minorities and women have been excluded and underrepresented in clinical trials, both historically and currently. I aim to understand if we can still use these clinical trials to derive treatment decisions that will not unfairly impact these groups, especially since collecting new data can be very costly and time consuming. I believe this is an import area of focus if we are to ensure that healthcare is to benefit everyone.

What’s a skill/expertise you have in data science/health equity - How did you learn/develop it and how might others do so to?

As a statistics Ph.D. student with a focus on causal inference and health equity, one of my key skills is use of statistical methods and tools to analyse healthcare data and address disparities. This I acquired through a combination of formal education, self learning, and hands-on experience. I would recommend starting with foundational knowledge of the statistics behind data science and machine learning, for example this online course.


What is one thing you wish you enjoyed more?

My new year’s resolution this year is to try enjoy running.

Where do you prefer to go on a first date?

Ice skating.

What is your favourite thing to do in the summertime?

Spend time by the beach, swim in the sea and eat peaches.


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