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Emma Benn

1 February 2021 1,227 views No Comment

Emma Benn

Associate Professor and Founding Director, Center for Scientific Diversity; Associate Dean of Faculty Well-being and Development; Director of Data Science Training and Enrichment, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Center for Biostatistics Department of Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

DrPH, Biostatistics, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (2012)
MPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (2007): BA, Chemistry and Spanish (minor), Swarthmore College (2004)

Emma Benn (she/her)—originally from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania—attended Swarthmore College. She intended to major in Spanish, thinking she would become an interpreter, but her interest in STEM fields motivated her to change her major to chemistry and minor in Spanish.

While working as a quality-control chemist for McNeil Consumer and Specialty Pharmaceuticals (renamed to McNeil Consumer Healthcare), Benn began to wonder why many people of color in her home suburb and the surrounding suburbs seemed to be suffering disproportionately from premature morbidity and mortality—even with access to excellent health care and stellar public education. She had brief exposure to public health through an introductory bioethics course she took in her senior year of college, so she thought pursuing graduate-level studies in public health might help her become better versed in the sociostructural determinants of health disparities. Thus, she pursued an MPH in sociomedical sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Benn has collaborated on a variety of health disparities–related research projects over the course of her career and teaches a graduate-level course, “Race and Causal Inference,” aimed at increasing the methodologic rigor by which health disparities are investigated, with the goal of finding effective causal targets for intervention.

Benn is committed to increasing diversity, inclusion, and equitable advancement in (bio)statistics and STEM fields, as well as reducing racial/ethnic disparities in faculty promotion in academic medicine. She serves on the ASA Antiracism Task Force and formerly served on the ASA Sexual Harassment and Assault Task Force. Benn is the co-founder of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute–funded Biostatistics Epidemiology Summer Training Diversity Program and a former co-chair of the ENAR Fostering Diversity in Biostatistics Workshop. She also serves as a mentor for the JSM Diversity Workshop and Mentoring Program and the Math Alliance.

Benn was co-principal investigator of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences–funded Applied Statistics in Biological Systems short course aimed at increasing the statistical competency and research capacity of early-stage researchers nationwide. She currently is co-principal investigator of the National Human Genome Research Institute–funded Clinical Research Education in Genome Science short course aimed at exposing doctoral students, postdocs, and clinical and research faculty to computational tools in genome science and effective strategies for engaging underserved communities in genomics research.

Benn’s contributions to diversity and inclusion in statistics and STEM have been celebrated by various organizations, including Mathematically Gifted and Black and the American Statistical Association.

Follow Benn on Twitter @EKTBenn.

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