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Karli Hochstatter


Columbus, WI


Brief Interest Statement: I received my B.S. in Biology and M.P.H. from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and am now pursuing my PhD in Population Health. I am currently a Research Assistant in the Department of Medicine studying the intersection of substance use and infectious disease. I am currently coordinating a study that aims to understand what facilitates and hinders HIV care for individuals releasing from prison to the community. Other projects I am involved with include using smartphone applications to improve quality and continuity of care for HIV-infected patients, understanding barriers to testing and treatment for HIV and Hepatitis C among people who inject drugs in Wisconsin, and the epidemiology of Hepatitis C in Wisconsin correctional facilities.

What experiences in your life led you to study population/public health? While exploring my career path options as an undergraduate, I began volunteering at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. The hospital exposed me to a diversity of health complications, and often had me wondering, what if people took precautions against illness and disease? What if everyone practiced preventive medicine? These lingering questions laid the foundation for my interest in public health, motivating me to complement my undergraduate degree in Biology with a certificate in Global Health, and to later pursue my MPH. As an MPH student, I had the opportunity to conduct disease surveillance and outbreak investigations at the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Applying my masters-level epidemiological coursework to the real world inspired me to pursue a PhD in Population Health to gain more skills for controlling infectious diseases.

Why did you choose UW-Madison for your degree: I chose UW-Madison for the unique opportunity to receive training from an interdisciplinary program, which would allow me to explore diverse areas of research and gain a holistic understanding while still concentrating on my specific interests. I knew that being able to concentrate in epidemiology while still building a stronger understanding of basic biological, social and behavioral, and health services constructs would provide me with the skills to address my research questions with a well-rounded perspective. Furthermore, I knew that UW-Madison's distinguished faculty, ambitious student population, and opportunities for collaborative research with various programs campus-wide would provide me with ample research opportunities.

What do you hope/plan to do with your degree? I plan to use my degree to pursue a career that includes both epidemiological research and public health action. Whether I end up in the academic, government, or private sector, I hope my work will improve treatment uptake and the quality of care for people living with HIV and/or Hepatitis C.