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Natalie Guerrero

Graduate Student in the PhD Population Health program since 2014


Chicago, Illinois


Brief Interest Statement: Natalie is an MD/PhD student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Her interests include research on poverty and racial/ethnic health disparities, particularly in maternal and child health and immigrant health. Recently, her research projects have focused on examining the rates of cervical and breast cancer screening among Mexican migrant women and understanding physician perspectives on clinical encounters with limited English proficient pediatric patients. Currently, research plans for her dissertation are focused on the relationship between maternal depression and child problematic behavior.

What experiences in your life led you to study population/public health? The conditions I experienced growing up as a low-income, Mexican-American female with parents who did not have access to higher education enlightened me to the impact I could make as a physician scientist. There is a pressing need for research focused on the health outcomes that predominantly impact economically-disadvantaged and racial/ethnic minority populations. The graduate training of the integrated program in Population Health Sciences has given me an opportunity to explore these specific areas of research that are of great interest to me scientifically, medically, and personally.

Why did you choose UW-Madison for your degree: As I explored research programs at various institutions, I found that the UW graduate school maintains a unique culture of collaboration between various departments and has a history of being a leader in population health research. The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) has a strong foundation of student leadership and support from program faculty and administrators, and it encourages its students to enter a PhD program that is of most interest to them. I found this to be unique compared to other programs, and the MSTP is very supportive of my desire to pursue my PhD in Population Health Sciences.

What do you hope/plan to do with your degree? My career goal is to become an expert in racial/ethnic health disparities and poverty research and a practicing primary care physician, actively contributing to research in these areas and providing clinical care to underserved patients. My dream job would be to become a faculty member in a research and a clinical department at an institution located in a city with diverse populations.

Currently, I serve as a coordinator of the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program, a world-wide, service-oriented grassroots program for middle-schoolers. Working with these middle schoolers, the youth who mentor them in the program, and their families gives me great inspiration to continue pursuing my career goals.