Graduate spotlight

Meet recent HOBI graduate, Guanming Chen

In August, Guanming Chen graduated with her Ph.D. in medical sciences with a concentration in health outcomes.

Q: Guanming, tell us a bit about your background.

A: With former training in pharmaceutical science and a passion to study big data applications in healthcare, I joined the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics six years ago. 

Q: Was it difficult to transition from traditional science to translational science?

A: Some might consider switching from bench science to translational science a great leap, but there were many things that helped me close the gap, including setting my course early in the department. This allowed me to understand complex connections across a wide range of applied medical sciences, including health outcomes evaluation methods, epidemiology, community health, vulnerable populations and modeling methods. During this time, I also took on side projects to refine my skills. 

Q: What are some of the most meaningful lessons you learned (and memories you made) as a student?

A: I fondly remember writing code and discussing my first project with former HOBI faculty member, Chris Delcher. This sparked my interest in the opioid crisis and really motivated me. Later, I received a podium speaker opportunity and travel scholarship from The Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), to attend a top international conference in pharmacoeconomics research. 

UF president, Kent Fuchs, Ph.D., with Chen after graduation.

The most important thing I have learned from getting my PhD is critical thinking. The most unforgettable training I received during my time as a student was shadowing physicians and surgeons and listening to patient-reported outcomes. These experiences really helped me understand and write my dissertation,  ‘Metabolic Bariatric Surgery: Evidence from the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium.’ I would like to thank Dr. Gurka, my advisor, and other committee members for training me to be a thinker– not just specialist– throughout my dissertation project.

The second most important thing I have learned is caring for other people. Health disparities have garnered an increasing amount of attention worldwide, especially during the pandemic. 

Q: What’s next for you?

A: After graduation, I will continue my clinical research by applying my knowledge and training obtained from this department. Wherever I go, I will use my knowledge and compassion to contribute to health equity and empower patients to be champions of their health and wellbeing.