LatinasAchieve Mentor Spotlight
Latinas Achieve! [LA]: What is your current professional title?
Miriam Morales [MM]: Associate Vice President of Data Science, Memorial Hermann Health System
LA: Tell us about your educational background.
MM: I hold a PhD in Epidemiology, Specialization in the Evaluation of Health Care Systems from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, an MS in Biostatistics and an Epidemiology minor from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, and a BS in Applied Mathematics with a Computer Science minor from the University of Houston-Downtown. I was also a member of UHD Scholars Academy.
LA: What professional accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
MM: During my tenure at Memorial Hermann I have helped clinicians identify medical pathways and processes that directly led to improving patient outcomes. I am currently working on a Remdesiver matched case control cohort analyses of COVID19 patients.
LA: What do you love most about your current position/career? Why?
MM: I love helping people understand data. In my career I have always strived to help people better understand their data and its impact on patient outcomes, to help physicians better understand care protocols and their impact on patient outcomes.
LA: What has been your greatest inspiration in your work?
MM: My greatest inspiration in my career has been my mother. She inspired me to go to graduate school and to push myself to learn and explore opportunities. Without that inspiration I would not be where I am today. In the workplace, I have had the good fortune to have been mentored by women in leadership roles. Memorial Hermann Healthy System has an entire program focused on mentoring Women in Leadership and it has had a dramatic impact in my career and work.
LA: What was the most significant challenge you have faced in your career so far and how did you overcome it?
MM: I have faced several challenges in my career, not being respected or valued, being passed over for promotion, discrimination based on race and gender. It was hard in the beginning of my career to even recognize that I was being treated differently, that these behaviors had already been so engrained and accepted that it took a colleague to point out to me that I was being mistreated. Afterwards, I realized they were right and I started to stand up for myself more and not allow certain comments or behaviors. It was scary, I thought I would get fired, and in the end I had to leave that job. The experience taught me that I was worth more than how I was treated.
LA: How has your background informed your career trajectory?
MM: My background and experiences have helped shape how I treat my teams and colleagues, especially women of minority background. To ensure that everyone is heard equally and give the same chance to participate and lead projects.
LA: What advice would you give to a college student interested in pursuing a career in your field?
MM: Be sure that you love data and people - not just the data. In the end, for data to be truly useful and meaningful you have to explain it to people and interact with people. If you only like the data or analytics component then you will only go so far in your career. Being able to interact with people, connect with them, and help them understand their data will be the pivotal component to professional advancement and career growth.