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Alumna Spotlight: Sarah Kendrick

Sarah Kendrick photo

Name: Sarah Kendrick
Degree(s): PhD Biostatistics 2017; MS in Biostatistics 2013

After graduating with a BA in Mathematics from Wittenberg University in May 2010, SPHIS alumna Sarah Kenrick realized “at the 11th hour” that her long-time goal of attending medical school no longer felt right. Needing to pivot, she met with her faculty advisor who recommended studying biostatistics, a field she was not aware of that blended her favorite subjects: statistics and science. She discovered the MS in Biostatistics at SPHIS while researching graduate schools. “Louisville, Kentucky is my hometown, so pursuing graduate degrees at UofL felt right!” she said.

While working toward her master’s degree, she was a research assistant under the supervision of Muriel Harris, PhD, associate professor, Dept. of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Sarojini Kanotra, Program Director, Kentucky Department for Public Health. She worked with data from the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) as part of a grant that explored the relationship between place of residence within Louisville and level of physical activity reported by respondents.

Additionally, Sarah studied abroad in Ghana with Dr. Harris. She said, “The trip gave us the opportunity to learn about a different culture, while also applying some of the public health practices we had learned in our studies. It was a meaningful experience for us all.”

After earning her MS in Biostatistics in 2013, she decided to continue her education and pursue a PhD in Biostatistics at SPHIS.

Fun Fact: Sarah is one of the founding members and a past president of the UofL Biostatistics Club.

While working on her dissertation, she landed a job as an analytics consultant in Humana’s Pharmacy Analytics and Consulting Department. She has remained in that department since, holding various roles and supporting several teams. “The technical skills I developed during my tenure at SPHIS translated well into the analytics roles I've held. I was able to quickly step into different roles and apply the appropriate methodologies to complete various requests as well as develop best practices in areas such as study design due to the robust knowledge developed through my time there,” Sarah explained.

Currently, Sarah is an informatics lead. Her team works closely with clinical pharmacists to provide data and analyses that helps tell stories, make decisions, and drive strategy. Sarah’s responsibilities include ensuring her team has the tools necessary to complete their requests, providing peer reviews, and driving engagement within her team and across the department., Her role is critical to examining how data analytics and business needs work together to provide Humana’s members with the best experience and outcomes.

“The myriad of experiences and opportunities I had while pursuing my graduate degrees helped to further develop communication skills, enhance my ability to see things from others' perspectives, and gain experience applying what I'd learned outside the classroom. These skills were all imperative pieces of preparing me for life after graduate school,” she said.

Sarah advises students just beginning their public health journeys to step out of their comfort zones, break down silos, and get to know their peers and faculty (inside and outside of their specific program). “The more well-rounded your experience is, and the more opportunities you pursue, the more prepared you will be for success in life after graduate school,” she added.

As for those about to graduate, she said, “While graduate school ensures you have the technical skills necessary, soft skills are another important tool to have in your toolbelt. Make sure to focus on empathy, clear and effective communication, active listening, etc.”

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