I found my life’s passion when a professor of mine died from AIDS. He handed in our exams one day, and the next week he was gone. Later, my Ph.D. supervisor and best friend also died from AIDS. It appeared that a virus was able to peck out the very things that make our society uncomfortable: sex, death, homosexuality, prostitution. And typically, the population that’s infected has no voice in our society. As an epidemiologist, my life’s mission is to put myself out of a job. Sitting in a rocking chair looking back and thinking I did a little bit of something to put this disease to rest—that’s what I’m trying to do with my life.
-Steffanie Strathdee, Doctor of Philosophy, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor, and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health in the Department of Medicine at the UCSD School of Medicine. San Diego, CA