Who Is This Ren Fellow?

Someone asked me the other day to explain my trajectory to where I am now. Five hours later, and we were not even close to finishing. To some, I am a friend. To others, I am a shill for Big Pharma who pushed vaccines for a living. To a certain little girl, I am her dad. To my wife, I’m her better half (and the source of many an eye-roll).

I am an epidemiologist with a doctoral degree in epidemiology, a master’s degree in public health (epidemiology and biostatistics) and a bachelor’s in medical technology. While I’ve always loved science, I also dabble in technology and other disciplines.

Limits? There are none…

I was born and raised in Mexico and moved to the United States when I was ten. When I received my bachelor’s in medical technology, a small hospital in Pennsylvania recruited me to work in their clinical laboratory. That was quite the adventure. I got to see all sorts of interesting medical cases, interact with all sorts of healthcare professionals, and begin building the foundation for all that I know today about public health. With the encouragement of friends and colleagues at the hospital, I attended George Washington University part-time (while working full-time) and earned an MPH in epidemiology and biostatistics.

Armed with the MPH, I got a job at the Maryland Department of Health as an infectious disease epidemiologist. That was also an adventure. I got the job just as the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic was about to begin. With some of the innovations I developed and helped implement, we were able to do a lot good things to keep people in Maryland informed on what was going on. This also allowed me to meet a lot of great people and collaborate on some very interesting projects.

That wasn’t enough for me, though. Again, friends, colleagues and mentors encouraged me to go back to school and get more training and education in public health. So I looked around and schools and saw that the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was pretty good. I started working on a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in 2013 and finished in June of 2018.

My dissertation was on the use of epidemiological and biostatistical methods to understand homicides in Baltimore. You can watch my defence right here:

Currently, I am working as a consulting epidemiologist to different groups and companies. I am also the editor of the History of Vaccines site, which is a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. We publish information on the history and science of vaccines. You should go check it out.