Student Profile: Victor Florez-Garcia, PhD in Environmental Health Sciences

Victor Florez-Garcia

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?

My research centers on disentangling the relationship between environmental exposures and child cognition. I’m specifically investigating how metal mixtures during pregnancy affect early childhood intellectual performance in Mexico City, with a focus on public health interventions. The research’s community impact lies in providing insights into the effects of these metals on the Latinx community, particularly Mexican children, which will inform actionable strategies to mitigate negative effects. What excites me most is the application of cutting-edge epidemiological techniques to better understand complex public health issues.

What inspired you to pursue your PhD at UWM?

My decision to pursue a Ph.D. at UWM was largely driven by the community-focused programs and the institution’s strong commitment to social and environmental justice within the curriculum. Furthermore, I was drawn to the supportive environment and expertise in public health areas at UWM, and the university’s international recognition in research added to its appeal.

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

My research aims to shift the perspective in public health, advocating for a holistic view of exposures, rather than isolated ones. It also contributes to new causal inference strategies in public health, potentially revolutionizing our traditional understanding of the field.

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

My Ph.D. journey has been exceptionally enriching. I’ve gained fresh perspectives in my research area, deepened my knowledge of epidemiology and public health, and established valuable connections both within and beyond UWM. As an international student, I’m especially grateful for the tremendous support I’ve received from peers, professors, and the university staff.