News & Events

Q&A with Epi alumna Jean McDougall

Jalen Smith | October 25, 2023
3 minutes to read

Jean McDougall earned her MPH in 2009, and graduated with her PhD in epidemiology in 2013, from the University of Washington Department of Epidemiology. Today, she is a Staff Scientist at Fred Hutch Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, where she monitors the cancer burden in the State of Washington and partners with communities to address persisting cancer disparities.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and connection to the University of Washington Department of Epidemiology?

I was in an Internet cafe in Costa Rica when I learned I had been accepted into the UW Epidemiology (UW Epi) program. I quickly traded sun and palm trees for rain and pines and started in the Master’s in Public Health (MPH) program in 2007. As an Epi student, I worked with Drs. Scott Davis, Chris Li, and Ken Kopecky studying radiogenic breast cancer in the Atomic Bomb Survivor cohort. I was a Research Assistant at Fred Hutch, a Teaching Assistant for numerous UW Epi courses. As an Epi social chair, I got to coordinate happy hours and social events for fellow students. After getting my PhD, I took a fellowship in the UW Department of Pharmacy and then a faculty position at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center. Now I’m back in Seattle, working in the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement at Fred Hutch, and dreaming of the beaches in Costa Rica.

Do you have any recent accomplishments/projects you are proud of that you would like to share?  

I am excited about the tremendous progress that has been made in cancer prevention and control over the past decade. The Fred Hutch Office of Community Outreach & Engagement recently released the Community Health Needs Assessment, identifying cancers of unusual incidence or mortality in Washington State and we are partnering with the Department of Health to revive the Washington State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan.

What does it mean to you to be an alum of UW Epi? 

As a UW Epi alum, I have a unique set of skills and a peculiar fondness for 2-by-2 tables. The experiences that I had in graduate school, learning from and working with world renowned faculty, gave me the confidence to lead my own studies.

What advice do you have for our incoming, current, or recently graduated Epi students?

Be curious and invest in a good rain jacket. Go to office hours and happy hours and take naps when you can. You will do hard things in graduate school and there is a community of faculty, staff, and alumni cheering you on.