Luis Silva

Public Health Data Science MPH

"As a physician, I had a direct impact with my patients...But working in public health means that I can have a broader impact. "

Where did you grow up? What did you study before coming to SPH?

[Luis] I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After high school, I went straight to medical school, then served as a physician in the navy. Part of my job was to provide care for people in isolated communities in the Amazon. I realized that the more isolated a community was, the more they were impacted by the social determinants of health, which got me interested in public health.

What drew you to public health? 

[Luis] As a physician, I had a direct impact with my patients. It was very rewarding to help individual people. But working in public health means that I can have a broader impact. That is why I wanted to study data science, because that information can help inform policies that can change our collective health.

Luis Silva
Luis Silva, MPH student

What specific issue, problem, or area of research in public health do you care the most about and why? 

[Luis] I would really like to work to expand and better utilize public health data back home in Brazil. We have a lot of great data that is underused there, such as disease reporting, and I am hoping that I can make a difference when I return. 

Why did you choose to come to the U of M School of Public Health? 

[Luis] I tried out SPH’s Public Health Institute in the summer, and I got to know some professors. I met Julian Wolfson in a machine learning course, which was a game changer for my academic career because he introduced me to public health data science. PHI was one of the reasons I applied here, because I wanted to get some credits during the summer. Taking classes part time while performing my duties in the navy was great.

What do you like about your program?

[Luis] Honestly, I like everything! I am very happy with my experience here. I think the faculty are amazing, and my classes have been just challenging enough to push me without burning me out. I also think that there are an abundant amount of research opportunities. 

Luis Silva, MPH student
Luis playing guitar

What do you like to do when you’re not in class? 

[Luis] I love music. I play the guitar and have been DJing a little bit. Some of my favorite artists to cover are Akon, Ne-Yo, the Weeknd, as well as some classic Brazilian artists like Tom Jobim, Chico Buarque, and Cartola. I also do a lot of cooking. I need to motivate myself to cook or else I will just pay for those expensive salads at Sweetgreen.

What do you like about living in Minnesota, and do you plan on staying here after graduation?

[Luis] I love Minneapolis! It is the right size for me. It’s big enough to have awesome restaurants and a variety of good services (like our airport), but not so big where the traffic is horrible or activities become inaccessible. Coming here from a tropical place was definitely an adjustment. But I think I might stick around here and do my residency after I complete my MPH…but only time will tell.

© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement