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Public Health Epidemiology Conversations Podcast

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Episode #331 Exploring Medical Epidemiology, With Rakhee Palekar, MD, MPH

On This Episode Of The Public Health Epidemiology Conversations (PHEC) Podcast


The field of public health features a host of different career opportunities, and now we delve into the dynamic realm of public health through the unique perspective of a medical epidemiologist. Joining us on this episode of the Public Health Epidemiology Conversations podcast is Dr. Rakhee Palekar. She is here to talk to us about her career journey and current role as Chief Scientist for Public Health and Epidemiology at MITRE. The organization that everyone in public health should know about! Join the conversation to hear more about how Dr. Palekar came to a career in public health, what it means to be a medical epidemiologist, her gravitational pulls in the world of public health, and so much more. Be sure not to miss out on the valuable insights talked about in this episode with Dr. Rakhee Palekar, so tune in now.


Meet Dr. Rakhee Palekar


Rakhee Palekar, MD, MPH is a medical epidemiologist with more than 20 years of clinical and public health experience. She is currently the Chief Scientist for Public Health and Epidemiology at MITRE. Prior to coming to MITRE, she served as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer (EISO) at the Maryland State Health Department and thereafter worked in the CDC Influenza Division for many years. Most recently, she led the Influenza and Respiratory Virus Team at the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Americas (PAHO).  In these public health roles, she investigated many infectious disease outbreaks in various settings, developed surveillance strategies, managed large grants, and engaged with stakeholders from Ministries of Health and Agriculture throughout the world. She also worked to support the development of pandemic preparedness plans and influenza vaccine policies. Prior to her career in public health, she was a clinical associate at Duke University and worked at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Durham, NC. She has co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications.  She holds a BA (magna cum laude) from Wellesley College in psychobiology and economics, an MD from the Ohio State University, an MPH in epidemiology from the Univ of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM).



Listen To This Episode Of The Public Health Epidemiology Conversations (PHEC) Podcast


Conversation Highlights


  • An education background and career overview of today’s guest: Dr. Rakhee Palekar

  • She breaks down the term ‘medical epidemiologist’ and its relevance to her

  • A retrospective look at the journey of how Dr. Palekar ended up working in public health

  • Her gravitational pulls in the world of public health

  • Dr. Palekar underlines the concept of One Health

  • She shares about her time, and role, at MITRE

  • Dr. Palekar shares details on the Epidemiology Community of Practice at MITRE

  • Their collaboration with the Mayo Clinic to create the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition

  • She talks about the opportunity for tech to support public health

  • Dr. Palekar’s advice to anyone who has an interest in or is looking to pursue a career in public health


“I think there is an opportunity to, certainly in public health, to evolve yourself and find new and meaningful ways to contribute.” — Dr. Rakhee Palekar

Other Links Mentioned In This Episode



MITRE


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Public Health Consulting To Support You


DrCHHuntley LLC is a public health consulting firm that specializes in epidemiology consulting, supporting large nonprofit organizations in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida that serve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We also provide nationwide public health consulting and epidemiology consulting support to BIPOC organizations across the United States.

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