Sandra Alba CStat, Global health epidemiologist

Chance played an important role in my decision to study statistics. I regularly thank my lucky stars for what turned out to be the perfect degree for me, paving the way to many opportunities and a fulfilling career so far.

After obtaining a BSc in applied statistics I found a job as a junior statistician in a cohort study on childhood diabetes. This motivated me to pursue an MSc in medical statistics followed by a PhD in epidemiology. I now work as a global health epidemiologist at KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, where I specialise in the application of statistical and epidemiological methods to evaluate public health programmes in primarily low- and middle-income countries.

I’ve been a CStat member since 2017. I joined the Society to keep up-to-date with important developments and conversations in the field of statistics. What I’ve enjoyed the most so far about my membership is the opportunity to write articles for Significance. It has enabled me to relate to my global health and epidemiology work on a less academic level than I was used to. It’s been great working with Significance editor Brian Tarran and learning to tell stories rather than just boring people with long-winded scientific study reports! I can tell it has also started to affect the way that I communicate my scientific work – for the better. I’ve become more aware of the need to engage readers even in scientific publications, and the experience I gained writing for Significance has given me the confidence to try to do so.

Recently I joined the RSS Nigeria local group. Since most of my work is in Africa, this seemed like a natural choice and the shift to digital meetings following the Covid-19 pandemic presents a very nice opportunity to network with like-minded statisticians locally.