Professor Spotlight: Judith Mueller
- What module do you teach?
Integrative modules Prevention (201) and Global Health (207); specific M2 classes in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Global Environmental Changes and Health; Some interventions in the M1 (Epidemiology).
2. How did you get involved in your current work?
After almost 10 years in an NGO, during which I had done my Ph.D., I sent in my candidature for the position as a professor at EHESP. Part of the motivation was to teach, to do not only research and expertise.
- What did you study (e.g. BSc, MSc, Ph.D. etc) to get to such a position?
The key diploma to be eligible was the Ph.D., but my background is MD and MPH, all of which are essential for my work today (especially the MPH!).
- How does your work address some of the public health issues today?
My research carries on vaccination strategies: vaccination is one of the most important public health interventions and needs modernization. I mean this in the sense that paternalistic approaches may no longer be appropriate, with the consequence that vaccination needs to be redefined as a collective project, in all populations. I find this process fascinating. And of course, resources are not infinite, while existing vaccines are underused and new ones being developed.
The other aspect of my work carries on epidemic bacterial meningitis, as major public health problem in parts of sub-Saharan Africa: surveillance and epidemic control approaches need to evolve along with better understanding of the phenomenon. This aspect may not have the importance of other diseases at the global level, the local impact is high and it is good to be expert and potentially have an impact on one domain.
5. What advice do you have for MPH students interested in working on a similar project or in a similar field?
Aim at mastering the technical aspects, do quality work without counting the effort, but be open to see and seize the opportunity when it passes in front of you.
6. Tell us one thing about you that many people don’t know.
I usually try not to bore students during class, maybe I care for this aspect more than necessary. The reason for this is that I used to be one of those unpleasant students who are easy to bore, sit in the back, do other things … or not even show up.
7. Finally, if you could choose a different career path other than the one you are on, what would it be?
I still have nostalgia for clinical work. The other dream, before studying medicine, was to become a diplomat … But I guess I am more useful where I am today.