The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

From Data to Action: Leveraging Meaningful Research in Public Health Initiatives

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Marissa Robinson, the initiative coordinator for Ending the HIV Epidemic under the U.S. Department of Health. They talk about how each person can make an impact on public health.

  • [00:38] Introducing Marissa Robinson
  • [04:41] Conducting Meaningful Research
  • [08:33] Ending HIV for Black Women
  • [20:13] The Stigma of HIV
  • [23:55] Choosing a Public Health Advocacy

Meaningful Research is Personal

For Dr. Robinson’s dissertation, she chose a topic that merged her passion for public health and her identity as Black cisgender woman. Hence, she conducted a qualitative study about black women’s attitudes and perceptions about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This medicine has been proven to be 99% effective in preventing HIV transmission. Despite it being approved by the FDA in 2012, the number of Black women who have been using PrEP have not significantly increased. Dr. Robinson’s findings have highlighted the need to de-stigmatize infectious diseases like HIV, so we can improve public health.

Making an Impact in Public Health

There are a lot of available resources about infectious diseases such as and Educate yourself about the latest research and talk to people about their experiences with the healthcare system. From there, you can determine how you’d like to help.

Medicine is not the only way to positively impact public health. Explore other avenues and find a niche that matches your skills and interests. This is how each of us can uniquely contribute towards better care. If you still find that medicine is your calling, all these experiences will definitely help you become a well-rounded med school candidate and physician.

You can reach Dr. Marissa Robinson through her LinkedIn, Twitter, or send her an email at [email protected].


To learn more about how MedSchoolCoach can help you along your medical school journey, visit us at Prospective Doctor. You can also reach us through our social media:


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Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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