Sarah Furnier

Credentials: PhD Epidemiology

Photo of Sarah Furnier

Year Started: 2016

Research/interests: Epidemiology of developmental disabilities, perinatal epidemiology, Genetic Epidemiology

Hometown: Hope, MI

Brief Interest Statement: I am particularly interested in better understanding the etiology of certain developmental disabilities and birth defects as well as the risk factors and potential complications associated with them in order to better address health inequalities and improve quality of life for individuals living with disability.

What experiences in your life led you to study population/public health? Exposure to epidemiological papers in my prior graduate studies first sparked my interest in the field, one that I had previously known very little about. I saw in epidemiology a way to bring together my undergraduate biochemistry and graduate anthropology work. Additionally, I have had a longtime desire to work with and for people with disabilities, and learning more about the research going on at places like UW-Madison and the Waisman Center led me to see that epidemiology was a way I could combine my interests and my passions in one field and hopefully do something valuable and tangible to help improve health outcomes for those living with disability.

Why did you choose UW-Madison for your degree? The broad range of faculty research topics, as well as specifically the research going on in collaboration with the Waisman Center, was what first drew me to UW-Madison. Getting a feel for the department and meeting some of the faculty during a subsequent visit confirmed to me that this would be a great place to learn the field and to get involved with the kind of research that interested me. I was struck by how friendly the faculty was, as well as their obvious desire to see their students succeed.

What do you hope/plan to do with your degree? In the future, I would like to work for a state or federal agency in a department that is dedicated to researching developmental disabilities and addressing health inequalities for those individuals living with disability.