Alumni Spotlight

Rob Buschmann, '18, recently graduated with a PhD from the Population Health Sciences Program.

Below he describes his dissertation, current work and how his time at UTMB prepared him for his career.


Rob Buschmann with his mentor, Kristen Peek

What was the focus of your dissertation?

My dissertation examined how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were affected by state-level economic policies and characteristics. While most state-level policies did not appear to directly affect ACEs, some interactions between family characteristics and state economic characteristics emerged, suggesting a complex relationship.

What is your current research/job?

In my current position as a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta, I am involved with a variety of community-based research projects as well as focused strategic planning. I am currently planning an evaluation of the health effects of a broad, city-wide effort to eliminate poverty in Edmonton, and I am also designing a comprehensive needs assessment to help direct local efforts to improve the early learning and care system in the greater Edmonton area. Finally, I am heading up an initiative by the University’s Community-University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth and Families (CUP) to increase the public policy impact of its research.


How did the Population Health Sciences Program help you get to where you are today?

The PHS program helped improve my technical skills and my content expertise, but most importantly, it helped me learn how to think carefully through research problems. I’m still learning every day, but the PHS program really did give me a great foundation to build upon. Plus, there’s a genuinely happy, caring group of professors and staff there, and there’s just no substitute for that!


Click here to learn more about the Population Health Sciences Program.