David Jacobs

David Jacobs is a current Epidemiology PhD student.

How did you become interested in epidemiology as your field of study?

Following completion of my PharmD degree program, I went on to complete both clinical residency and research fellowship programs. During these programs, I became very interested in clinical research, especially in pursuing formal research training in order to obtain the necessary skills to develop into an independent investigator. I felt a doctoral degree in epidemiology would continue my development as a clinical researcher, and help me reach my long-term career objective of becoming an independent investigator of pharmacoepidemiology and health services research. For that reason, I enrolled in the epidemiology doctoral program at the University at Buffalo.

Why did you choose UB?

I went to Binghamton University for my undergraduate degree and completed my PharmD degree at the University at Buffalo, so I was well-acquainted with the health sciences at UB and other SUNY schools. The University at Buffalo has the most opportunities in the health sciences and a growing health care sector, so I felt it was a natural extension to continue my education at UB.

Also, I concurrently started as a faculty member in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as I began my doctoral studies in SPHHP. This has allowed me to teach and educate pharmacy students as well as develop my own research. I’ve had the opportunity to mentor numerous pharmacy students over the past four year and have seen them successfully take the next steps in their careers. The combination of starting in a faculty position and concurrently working on my PhD was an opportunity I could not give up.  

Tell us more about your experience in the program.

My research over the past few years has focused on pharmacoepidemiology and health services related projects. My professional training in pharmacy and epidemiology, coupled to my clinical training, allows me to perform health care related research through a combination of approaches based on state and national data from agencies, such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and New York State Department of Health, and the use of electronic medical records for clinical effectiveness research. For my dissertation, I am working with an interdisciplinary team from the SPHHP and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to examine bacterial infections, interactions, and health outcomes in veterans with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is truly exciting to work on many different projects with an array of mentors.

What do you enjoy the most about the program?

The interaction with the faculty is what sets this program apart. The faculty are always available for their students and willing to spend time discussing a topic or concept. Also, the methodological rigor of the program has made me a better researcher and more confident in my work. 

How does receiving a degree from UB SPHHP set you apart?

In the short-term and following graduation I would like to obtain a tenure track faculty position at a research intensive university. My long-term career goal is to become an independent investigator in pharmacoepidemiology and health services research. I believe by obtaining a doctoral degree in epidemiology, coupled with my clinical training, I will be able to successfully accomplish both my short- and long-term career objectives.