- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.
I would highly recommend the 80,000 hours career guide! It is a nicely structured way to re-consider your career goals.
Apply for the 80,000 Hours career advising.
For people who already have a health care degree:
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.
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):
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.