Abigail Mariani, M.P.H.
Department: Division of Epidemiology
I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014. As an undergraduate at VCU, I developed a strong background in the research field mainly focusing on counseling children with mental illnesses and mindful meditation. However, it was not until I completed my internship at the VCU Institute of Drug and Alcohol Studies that I truly realized the significance of research. Not only did this opportunity teach me about research but it also sparked my interest in working with substance users and addiction. The focus of that particular program was centered on providing medications to participants; I found that I was more interested in programs and resources that addressed the social and mental problems involved with addiction and substance use. Therefore, I transferred to VCU’s Department of Health Behavior and Policy. Here, the definition of public health became clear to me. Although I currently work with family caregivers of cancer patients, my current position as a Research Coordinator is teaching me how to collect and interpret quantitative and qualitative data. This information is living evidence and proof that stakeholders, policy makers, and government officials can use to hopefully improve caregivers and their loved one’s lives. I decided to pursue my Master’s in Public Health because I aim to use both my research and educational experiences to understand the complex epidemiology of addiction to provide better support for addicts and their loved ones.