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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Student Q&A: Julie Yonek, Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program

Julie Yonek, MPH

Where is your hometown?
I’m from Piedmont, California.

What is your educational background?
I have a bachelor's degree in animal physiology and neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego, and a master's of public health in epidemiology and biostatistics from San Diego State University.

What are your research interests? 
I’m interested in the social mechanisms behind racial/ethnic differences in health outcomes and health service utilization (e.g., the effect of social context and culture on disparities in chronic conditions and behavioral health disorders).   

What exciting projects are you working on? 
I am currently working on an evaluation of Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q), The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature effort to improve the overall quality of health care in targeted communities across the United States, including the reduction of disparities in care.  

Specifically, I am examining strategies and activities implemented by participating communities to increase racial/ethnic minorities’ awareness of public reports on provider quality.

What attracted you to the HSIP program?  
I liked the interdisciplinary nature of the program, which provides the opportunity to collaborate with faculty from fields outside of my specific discipline (health services research and outcomes). 

What has been your best experience at Feinberg?  
The expertise and dedication of its faculty; the wide range of research opportunities; the collaborative environment.

How would you describe the faculty at Feinberg? 
The faculty are very collaborative and invested in training students and junior-level researchers to become leaders and experts in the health sciences. 

What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy trail running, yoga, and travel.

What are your plans for after graduation? 
I plan to teach health disparities to university students and lead research that advances our understanding of effective approaches to reduce disparities in care and outcomes for underserved populations.