2018

Speaking from Experience


Having thrived during her training at the Fielding School, Kate Crespi is using her faculty position to ensure that her students reap the same rewards.

Dr. Catherine Crespi helping a student
Dr. Kate Crespi with Justin Williams (MS '16), a PhD candidate in the Fielding School's Department of Biostatistics.

KATE CRESPI (MS ’91, PHD ’04) believes the most important quality for any academic in mentoring students is empathy. And as someone who trained in the Fielding School’s Department of Biostatistics before joining the department’s faculty, where she is now professor in residence, Crespi can easily identify with her students’ experiences.

Crespi completed her MS in FSPH’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences, then spent five years working at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. While there, she developed quantitative health-risk assessments associated with air pollution exposures, using both computer simulations and statistical methods. Fascinated by the work, Crespi decided to return to the Fielding School for a PhD in biostatistics.

Biostatistics is a highly collaborative discipline, so it’s particularly beneficial to train at a research powerhouse like UCLA.


Dr. Kate Crespi

“Ever since I was a kid, math was my favorite subject, but not for its own sake; I was interested in using statistics to advance public health,” Crespi explains. As she progressed through her training — including a postdoctoral fellowship supported by the biostatistics department’s HIV/AIDS training grant — Crespi concluded that she didn’t want to leave academia. “I have experience working for the government and in the private sector, but what I love most is doing research and mentoring students,” she says.

Dr. Sudipto Banerjee, chair of the Fielding School’s Department of Biostatistics, considers Crespi one of his department’s most valued trainers. “As an active researcher on many high-profile projects in FSPH and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, she is instrumental in bringing graduate students onto scientific projects,” Banerjee explains. “Working with Dr. Crespi has considerably enhanced the research experience of many of our students.”

During her own training, Crespi says, she grew to appreciate both the quality of the program’s faculty and the wide-ranging research opportunities within and outside of the Fielding School. “Biostatistics is a highly collaborative discipline, so it’s particularly beneficial to train at a research powerhouse like UCLA,” she says. Many of the connections Crespi forged during her training have endured through her faculty tenure. Most notably, as a postdoctoral scholar Crespi began collaborating with researchers in the FSPH-based Center for Cancer Prevention and Control Research, where she is now the lead biostatistician.

Crespi has amassed more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on more than 40 funded studies covering major public health issues such as cancer, obesity and infectious diseases. But nothing takes a back seat to her work with FSPH students. “I know how stressful graduate school can be,” she says. “I try to be supportive, maintain a positive outlook, and allow students to feel a sense of ownership of their work, while making sure they understand that science has to be conducted with a high level of integrity and attention to detail. It’s also easy for doctoral students to get caught up in the minutiae of their dissertation. I want to make sure my students don’t lose sight of the big-picture impact of their work.”

 

Faculty Referenced by this Article

Catherine M. Crespi headshot
Catherine M. Crespi
Biostatistics
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Sudipto Banerjee
Sudipto Banerjee
Biostatistics
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Dr. Weng Kee Wong
Weng Kee Wong
Biostatistics
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Dr. Pouran D. Faghri
Pouran D. Faghri
Environmental Health Sciences
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Angelo J Bellomo
Angelo Bellomo
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Zhe Fei
Zhe Fei
Biostatistics
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Niklas Krause
Environmental Health Sciences Epidemiology
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Thomas Belin
Thomas R. Belin
Biostatistics
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Brian Cole
Brian Cole
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Candace Tsai
Candace Tsai

Associate Professor for Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Health Sciences

Environmental Health Sciences
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Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Kevin Njabo
Kevin Njabo
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Donatello Telesca
Donatello Telesca
Biostatistics
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Damla Senturk
Biostatistics
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Dr. Lara Cushing
Lara Cushing
Environmental Health Sciences
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Rosenstock
Linda Rosenstock
Environmental Health Sciences Health Policy and Management
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Honghu Liu
Biostatistics
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Dr. Gang Li
Gang Li
Biostatistics
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Jesus Araujo
Environmental Health Sciences
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Tao Huai
Tao Huai
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Robert Erin Weiss
Robert Erin Weiss
Biostatistics
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Dr. Michele Guindani
Michele Guindani
Biostatistics
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Andre Nel
André Nel
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Christina Ramirez
Christina Ramirez
Biostatistics
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Michael Jerrett
Michael Jerrett
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Wendie Robbins
Wendie Robbins
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Jin Zhou
Jin Zhou
Biostatistics
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Dr. Oliver Hankinson
Oliver Hankinson

Dr. Hankinson is a Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and of EHS, and Chair of the Molecular Toxicology IDP

Environmental Health Sciences
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Feng Gao
Feng Gao
Environmental Health Sciences
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David Elashoff
Biostatistics
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Richard Ambrose
Richard Ambrose
Environmental Health Sciences
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Jian Li
Jian Li
Environmental Health Sciences Epidemiology
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Ron Brookmeyer
Ron Brookmeyer
Biostatistics
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Richard J. Jackson
Richard J. Jackson
Environmental Health Sciences
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Jason H. Moore, Ph.D.
Jason H. Moore

Automated and accessible artificial intelligence methods and software for biomedical data science.

Biostatistics
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Dr. Yifang Zhu
Yifang Zhu
Environmental Health Sciences
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Li, Jingyi Jessica
Jingyi Jessica Li
Biostatistics
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David Gjertson
Biostatistics
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Dr. Robert Schiestl
Robert Schiestl
Environmental Health Sciences
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Xiaowu Dai headshot
Xiaowu Dai
Biostatistics
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Dr. Beate Ritz
Beate Ritz
Environmental Health Sciences Epidemiology
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Arthur Cho
Arthur Cho
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Daniel Uslan
Daniel Uslan
Environmental Health Sciences
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Nicole Green
Environmental Health Sciences
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Rachael Jones
Rachael Jones
Environmental Health Sciences
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Sean Darling-Hammond
Sean Darling-Hammond
Biostatistics Community Health Sciences
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Catherine Ann Sugar
Catherine Ann Sugar
Biostatistics
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Dr. Marc Suchard
Marc Suchard
Biostatistics
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Miriam Marlier
Miriam Marlier
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Shane Que Hee
Shane Que Hee

Industrial Hygiene & Analytical Chemistry

Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Dorota Dabrowska
Dorota M. Dabrowska
Biostatistics
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Michael Collins
Michael Collins
Environmental Health Sciences
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Pablo Cicero-Fernandez
Pablo Cicero-Fernandez
Environmental Health Sciences
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Mel Suffet
Irwin Suffet
Environmental Health Sciences
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Brunilda Balliu headshot
Brunilda Balliu
Biostatistics
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Martin L. Lee
Martin L. Lee
Biostatistics
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Timothy Malloy
Environmental Health Sciences
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Kirsten Schwarz
Environmental Health Sciences
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William G. Cumberland
Biostatistics
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Arabzadah, Hamid
Hamid Arabzadeh
Environmental Health Sciences
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Dr. Jane Valentine
Jane Valentine
Environmental Health Sciences
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Abdelmonem Afifi
Abdelmonem A. Afifi
Biostatistics
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Hua Zhou
Hua Zhou
Biostatistics
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Hyun J. Grace Kim
Biostatistics
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Curtis Eckhert
Curtis Eckhert
Environmental Health Sciences
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Arthur Winer
Environmental Health Sciences
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Andrew Holbrook
Andrew Holbrook
Biostatistics
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Dr. Hilary Aralis
Hilary Aralis
Biostatistics
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