Student Profile: Edwin Guevara Romero, Public Health PhD – Community and Behavioral Health Promotion

Edwin Guevara Romero

Tell us about the research you are engaged in as a doctoral student at the Zilber College. What impact will it have on the community? What excites you most about it? 

As a doctoral student at Zilber College, my research centers on the double burden of malnutrition, explicitly focusing on addressing this issue in Colombia, my country of birth. The double burden of malnutrition refers to the coexistence of undernutrition and overnutrition within a population or even within the same individual or household. 

In the context of Colombia, which is undergoing a nutritional transition, my research aims to fill a crucial gap in existing policies. While many policies predominantly target low weight, there is a notable lack of emphasis on addressing the rising issue of obesity. My proposal seeks to enhance the country’s capacity to address both aspects of malnutrition comprehensively, with a particular focus on promoting the healthy growth of the child population. 

The impact of this research on the community is significant, as it directly addresses a pressing health issue in Colombia. By fostering a more holistic approach to malnutrition, my work aims to contribute to developing more effective and inclusive public health policies. This, in turn, has the potential to improve the overall well-being of the population, particularly the health outcomes of children. 

What excites me most about this research is the opportunity to make a tangible and positive impact on the children’s health in Colombia. By addressing the double burden of malnutrition and advocating for comprehensive policies, I hope to contribute to a healthier future for the younger generation. As a researcher, the prospect of influencing policy changes and promoting sustainable nutrition practices is motivating and fulfilling. 

What inspired you to pursue your PhD at UWM? 

I was inspired to pursue my Ph.D. at UWM due to the institution’s notable emphasis on community engagement and its strong commitment to social and environmental justice integrated into the curriculum. The university’s international recognition in research, particularly in Public Health, further attracted me to its academic environment. 

One key motivator for my decision was the unwavering support and encouragement of the late Dean Ronald Perez, despite the challenge of pursuing a doctorate in a language that is not my first language. His encouragement highlighted the human quality of the staff at UWM, making me feel valued and supported in my academic journey. 

In essence, the community-oriented ethos, commitment to justice, and the support I received from individuals like Dean Ronald Perez were instrumental in inspiring my choice to pursue a PhD at UWM. 

What differences do you hope to make in the world with your work in public health? 

Through my doctoral research at UWM, I aim to make a difference in public health.  Focused on addressing the double burden of malnutrition, particularly in Colombia, my goal is to influence positive changes in health policies. By advocating for a more comprehensive approach that considers both undernutrition and obesity, I hope to impact the well-being of the community, explicitly emphasizing the healthy growth of children. 

The inspiration drawn from UWM’s emphasis on community engagement and commitment to social and environmental justice guides my work. I aspire to bridge gaps in existing policies, ensuring a more holistic understanding and response to the complex issue of malnutrition. Ultimately, I aim to contribute to developing effective public health strategies that promote the health and vitality of communities, aligning with the principles of justice and equity that drew me to UWM in the first place. 

What has been your favorite experience so far as a doctoral student? 

The most valuable aspect of my doctoral journey has been the opportunity to connect and learn from my diverse and experienced fellow.  The unwavering support, encouragement, and kindness from my peers have been invaluable, especially during challenging times.  Sharing this academic journey with fellow graduates has been particularly rewarding, as they are not only humorous and kind but also a highly supportive and insightful group, enhancing the overall satisfaction of the experience.