Melanie Norstrom, PhD, Senior Program Manager, Investigator Development Core, University of Chicago

How did your interest in health equity begin?

In my family, I have seen how access to health care due to employment or insurance status can lead to vastly different outcomes for the same conditions. Even small barriers or delays in treatment or access can exacerbate treatable conditions. It is fascinating to see the proposals from early stage investigators who are working to uncover new disparities and also address some disparities through novel interventions.

What are you most proud of in your career?

What I am most proud of in my career is the opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues at both the University of Chicago and Rush University Medical Center. Through these collaborations, I have been able to contribute to a variety of research projects aimed at addressing important health issues, including cancer health disparities and improving health outcomes for marginalized communities. One aspect of my work that brings me particular joy is the opportunity to engage with early stage investigators and see the progress they make on their research projects. It is incredibly rewarding to witness their growth and development as they tackle complex problems and generate novel insights. Overall, I am proud of the meaningful contributions that I have been able to make to the field of health disparities through my work with C3EN. While there is still much work to be done, I am excited to continue collaborating with colleagues to advance our understanding of how to promote health equity and improve health outcomes for all.

Do you have any fun facts?

I love spending time in my garden. I recently installed a small patch of native wildflowers and milkweed to support the monarch butterflies. I raised at least a dozen butterflies last summer.