Student Spotlight

Lily Lee

Lily Lee

Hometown: Queens, New York

Degree Program: MD/MPH, Epidemiology concentration

Class Year: 2022

Undergraduate Major: Chemistry, Children Studies 

Professional Interests: Adolescent risk behaviors, media influences, environmental exposures

Extracurricular Activities/Involvement: Instructor for Arthur Ashe Institute of Urban Studies; Researcher and Volunteer for KAVI; Student Ambassador for MPH Program


1. What drew you to the MD/MPH program at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University? Why did you choose to study public health? 

I knew I wanted to be a clinician who would be able to apply public health to any arena – whether that be in terms of understanding other factors at play affecting my patients’ health or performing research. I first became interested in public health via tobacco research, which also involved local and national advocacy and working with youth. I hope my MPH will teach me the skills necessary to be principal investigator in the future and work with underserved populations via community-academic partnerships.

I felt that the faculty at SUNY Downstate SPH had extensive experience in this arena and have not been proven wrong.


2. What is your favorite aspect of the program and what have you gained from it?  

The flexibility! I have greatly appreciated how flexible the faculty have been to allow me to achieve what I want to achieve with my MPH while navigating my medical school curriculum. 


3. Can you recall a memorable in-class or general SUNY Downstate experience that struck you as particularly meaningful?

During my first year of medical school, I wanted to be involved in research so I went to my advisor’s office (Dr. Helzner) and asked for her advice. She said she would keep an eye out for me. Within hours after that meeting, I received a phone call from her with a research opportunity with the Department of Cardiology, a team that I have worked with over the last two years!


4. Could you describe your activities and involvement at SUNY Downstate? 

I am involved in a number of different research projects with faculty at the School of Medicine and School of Public Health. I am also the instructor for Arthur Ashe Institute of Urban Studies as well as the researcher/volunteer with KAVI. In addition, I have been very involved with Dr. Joseph over the last two years as a Student Ambassador recruiting students to the MPH program.


5. What are your goals? Do you have plans to further your education or do you have a career in mind upon graduation?  

I am aiming for a residency in pediatrics, and would like to be an epidemiologist with the CDC in the future 


6. Do you have any advice for someone who might be interested in Downstate’s MD/MPH program?  

There are so many things you can do with a background in medicine and public health! Meet with faculty at both schools, learn about their research and different career paths – maybe something will excite you!

7. Is there anything else you would like to highlight about yourself, your education, community involvement, career goals, etc.? 

I am excited to be working at the CDC next year as part of their elective epidemiology program and hope to continue working with the NYCDOH’s infectious disease department over the next year.