Juan Benzo

  1. Tell us more about yourself :) - what current stage of life you’re at, hobbies ect.

    • I grew up in flux between Argentina and West Virginia. Currently, my husband and I (and 2 dogs and 2 cats) live in Colorado. I work here as a physical therapist. My hobbies go in waves, but the ones I consistently gravitate towards are rock climbing, swing dancing, yoga, doing art, hiking, and exploring random areas of the world. My next adventure will be next week: an 800-mile biking trip over 5 days!

  2. How did you first find out about Effective Altruism? ⏲️

    • I first found out about Effective Altruism when I listened to a podcast where William Macaskill was interviewed. I immediately bought his book "Doing Good, Better" which changed my life. I then connected with local EA groups, completed the 80,000 hours career guide, received 80,000 hours advising, and completed two EA fellowships.

  3. Why did you decide to work in healthcare? 💊

    • My pathway towards healthcare was non-linear. I always knew I wanted to help others. My father was a physician, and I originally wanted to follow his footsteps. In undergrad, I studied history and philosophy of science and worked as a CNA in the Neuro-ICU. I applied for and was accepted into medical schools, but ultimately decided against it. I didn't feel ready and realized it wasn't a good personal fit. Instead, I explored other options: I did neuroscience research at the University of Wisconsin and then taught English in France for 3 years. Throughout these experiences, I continued to feel the nagging desire to have a direct, measurable impact on the lives of individuals. I wanted to be able to help people change their behaviors to improve their quality of life. I also wanted to help people prevent disease/disability with a non-pharmacological approach. Ultimately I decided physical therapy most closely approximated my desires. Currently, I am seeking to increase the number of people I can help. I am unsure of the exact pathway, but am applying to fellowships in policy and public health. I also am volunteering for EA related organizations. My hope is these fellowships will allow me to transition into a higher impact career.

  4. Any advice to others in a similar situation as yours, or people earlier in their career?

    • I have lots of advice but will try to condense it:

      1. For anyone who hasn't read Doing Good, Better by William Macaskill, please do so! It will change your perspective on how much impact you are having on health care.

      2. I would highly recommend the 80,000 hours career guide! It is a nicely structured way to re-consider your career goals.

      3. Apply for the 80,000 Hours career advising.

    • For people who already have a health care degree:

      1. Find opportunities that will allow you to expand your impact. For instance, I started volunteering for an EA organization called "No More Pandemic". Other options are to connect with a local EA group and help build the EA community.

      2. Apply for more formal opportunities (fellowships and post-docs) that can help put you on a career trajectory to increase your positive social impact. For instance, I am applying to policy fellowships (Mirzayan, AAAS), public health fellowships (such as the CDC epidemiology intelligence officer), or post-docs (some post-docs are specifically for health care providers wanting to enter a career in research).

    • For people who are earlier in their career (considering a health care degree):

      1. I would recommend doing a fully funded Ph.D. or Master's program instead of a health care degree. I believe I would have had a much higher potential for impact (career capital, prestige, no debt) had I completed a Ph.D. rather than a doctorate in physical therapy.

      2. I could envision a younger version of myself making the following objection: "well, I want to personally see the impact of my work". To this, I would respond that there are many lower-cost ways to help: volunteer for a local organization or civic association. This will cost a lot fewer resources (time and money) and you can see the results within your community.

  1. What do you think are some of the important considerations when trying to develop ones' career in an effective way?

    • I personally love the 80,000 hours career guide. Some of the key concepts include taking into account the scale, neglectedness, and tractabiltiy of a problem area. Then, take into account personal fit.

  2. Is there anything you hope to see in the EA-Med network? 👀

    • Co-working time would be great. I think it would also be interesting to hear what other people within the group are doing and maybe find ways to collaborate on projects.