Ellen Gundlach

Track: Stand-alone

Ellen Gundlach

Tell us about yourself:

I have been teaching introductory statistics and statistical literacy courses to Purdue students for 15 years, and over the years I’ve been adding in more public health examples, including cancer clusters, interpreting medical test results, the history and science of the autism/vaccines story, how new drugs get approved, and how big data can be used to improve our health. Earlier in my career, I taught at Ivy Tech for a few semesters, and I was impressed and humbled by how hard my students worked to overcome many challenges in their daily lives, even to be able to get to class and do their homework. I have volunteered with various community groups in Columbus, Ohio, and Lafayette to determine the needs of the people (especially LBGTQ and children) and set up programs to help. I like getting out into the community and seeing how what we learn can be applied to real problems affecting our neighbors.  I’ve been interested in following the progress of the Tippecanoe County Health Department’s Syringe Exchange Program, and I’ve used data related to that for several different projects.

Your education:

For my BS, I majored in chemistry, minored in physics at Florida State University. I earned an MS in physical chemistry from The Ohio State University. I taught math classes at Ivy Tech and Purdue for 3 years, and I have been teaching statistics at Purdue for the past 15 years.

Your vision:

I’m interested in epidemiology, women’s and LBGTQ health issues, social justice, and explaining scientific ideas to the general public. I would like to be able to work with the local community to solve problems, to collect and analyze data to determine areas of focus and possible solutions, to plan interventions and evaluate program successes, and to write grants to help community groups implement their ideas.

Why Purdue:

The whole program is great! I appreciate the broad range of experiences available in the MPH program. Shauna is extremely helpful in connecting us to people and resources in the community to match our interests. The wonderful enthusiasm and energy of my fellow students is inspiring. Additionally, I like the breadth of subjects, the opportunities for discussion, as well as the applications and projects. The program gave me the opportunity to work on the Italy women’s health research project, even though I didn’t get to go to Italy. This was a rich and benificial experience. I hope to take some of what I learned from that project to suggest ideas for local improvements. 

Your advice:

Keep an open mind, and be willing to listen.  Public health professionals have to balance the needs and opinions of many people when trying to develop solutions.  Also, be brave about stretching yourself in new directions.  With the broad range of courses required for the MPH program, you’re likely to take some that are not at all what you would normally choose, but that’s great! 

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