Piloting a New Data Analysis Method to Help Advance Patient-Focused Drug Development Research for Alzheimer’s Disease
A culminating highlight of The Institute's on-campus Master of Public Health program is the opportunity for students to take what they've learned out into the field. Our internship profile series looks at how they've applied what they learned to their own interests in improving health and healthcare.
With a background in neuroscience, Isha Mehta MPH ’19 embarked on a new project at Biogen, a multinational biotechnology company in Cambridge, MA, to explore ethnic and racial differences in the Alzheimer’s disease burden. Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent form of late-life mental illness, affecting nearly 44 million people worldwide. Biogen’s aim is to create and deliver medications that are more beneficial to patients by incorporating their voices and perspectives in the development of Alzheimer’s treatments and clinical trials.
“By understanding which races and ethnicities currently face and are projected to face the heaviest disease burden, we can understand where additional Alzheimer’s research needs to be focused,” Mehta says. “We can also gain a better understanding in differences in the disease genesis and progression, since we have yet to understand the true origin of Alzheimer’s disease.”
In her internship, Mehta piloted an ethnoracial approach as part of Biogen’s drug development research process. Her comprehensive work included conducting a systematic literature review of racial and ethnic trends seen in Alzheimer’s disease, calculating epidemiological estimates, and conducting an electronic medical record database study to determine the racial and ethnic distribution of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
She presented her findings to Biogen’s epidemiology team as well as the global clinical operations team, which manages clinical trials. They found her work to be so successful that they are now planning to add ethnoracial analyses to the research they conduct for other neurological diseases— and added Mehta to their team as an epidemiology research associate.
“This internship has helped to solidify my decision to pursue a career where I can serve as a bridge between research and implementation of novel strategies that prioritize patient preferences and improving health outcomes.”
- Isha Mehta MPH '19
POSTED 7/16/2019 AT 03:38 PM IN #internship
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