PHutures – 100 Alumni Voices »

Usama Bilal

“Don’t think of [a PhD in public health] as a way to get somewhere else. Think of what you want to get as a way of achieving something for society in general, not just for yourself.”

Bloomberg School of Public Health

Epidemiology, PhD 2017

Assistant Professor at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

Usama’s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss what led Usama to pursue a PhD in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins, how his doctoral training prepared him for a career in academia, and the role of activism in his past, present, and future professional journey.

Learn More About Usama’s Story

This was a cooking class in Schola, an event space in Mt Vernon, Baltimore. We took a class on New Orleans cuisine. While I already enjoyed cooking when I came to Baltimore for my PhD at JHSPH, I really got into it while in the program. Cooking for and with friends became one of my favorite activities. I also cooked several times with my PhD advisor (Dr. Tom Glass), especially during Thanksgiving dinners and when we had invited speakers, including cooking a duck six different ways, inspired in several traditional Mexican dishes. Interestingly, I think I enjoy cooking because I tend to follow a very freestyle approach, the opposite of what I do during my scientific work. On the other hand, I dislike baking, which I consider similar to following the methods section of a paper!

This was the 20th anniversary party of The Brewers Art, a bar and brewery in Mt Vernon, Baltimore. I’m in attendance with my partner, Mariana Lazo (ScM ’06, PhD ’11). Brewers Art was my favorite bar, and I have many great memories from there. I also really enjoyed the beer scene in Baltimore, where I discovered craft beer and how diverse and unique each brew is. I never got into home brewing though, too scientific! Coincidentally, later, while attending a Dean’s Lecture at JHSPH I discovered that the first public health law in Europe was the Reinheitsgebot, the German regulation that dictated procedures and ingredients of beer.