As a child, Rachel Chase called donuts “the other kind of bagel.” That’s because donuts and other junk food weren’t part of her vocabulary or her diet, thanks to the vigilance of her mother, a dietitian, and her father, an emergency room physician.
“My mom believed that an excellent diet was the surest way to attain a long, healthy, happy life, with exercise coming in a close second,” says Chase, who shares her mother’s ideals. “My interest in nutrition ultimately led to an interest in disease, sustainability, distribution of wealth, access to health care, and community health.” A teaching stint in China further opened her eyes to different cultures and the diverse factors that impact the health of a global economy.
Chase’s passion for health and nutrition is equaled only by her love for numbers. At the Bloomberg School, she has found a way to combine the two. Her goal? To use biostatistics and community-based participatory research to develop effective health care systems around the world. “I’m specifically interested in exploring issues related to housing, nutrition and health conditions of low-income families,” she says.
Being the catalyst for change is a welcome adventure for Chase. She’s an idealist—inspired by those brave enough to chase their dreams against all odds and make a difference. “That’s why I’m attracted to this field,” she says. “With insight, creativity and action, public health professionals can help identify problems throughout the world and develop solutions we can all be a part of.”