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Meet Vida Amor Hernandez Beruelo, MPH Biostatistics student with a goal to promote ethical data

Vida Amor Hernandez Beruelo, MPH Biostatistics OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Student

Graduate Spotlight: Vida Amor Hernandez Beruelo

Vida Amor Hernandez Beruelo (she/her) is a Master of Public Health, Biostatistics student at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. Vida is a Filipino-American first-generation graduate student, whose first hand experience in health disparities and resource challenges with small island communities inspired her to pursue public health and learn statistical methods that can be applied to diverse problems.

What inspired you to pursue public health as a major?

As an immigrant and a first-generation graduate student, I have witnessed and experienced firsthand health disparities and the challenges of accessing care and resources in a small island community. When I began my education and engaged in research, it became evident how people’s experiences can be shared through research and data, yet it also revealed a crucial knowledge gap (e.g., how data representation can positively or negatively impact communities, and failing to collect information can increase the gaps in disparities and delay essential resources). This showed me the importance of continuously improving public health efforts and outcomes, which inspired me to pursue public health as a major and learn statistical methods that can be applied to diverse problems, particularly those affecting marginalized communities.


Did you face any challenges in entering the program or at any point during your academic journey that you were able to overcome?

Throughout my academic journey, I encountered various challenges that I had to overcome:

  • Writing my personal statement and expressing my reasons for pursuing my path. This was particularly challenging due to imposter syndrome, as I struggled with acknowledging my accomplishments and speaking confidently about myself. However, I am grateful for the guidance and support of my mentors and peers, who provided valuable insights and helped me clarify my goals.
  • Having to remind myself that I belonged and could succeed in this journey. It required a lot of organization, time management, and support, as sometimes it could feel isolating.
  • Balancing the responsibilities of being a parent, working, and pursuing higher education demanded careful scheduling and prioritization, but it also taught me lessons in resilience and perseverance.


Who/what served as an inspiration during your academic journey?

During my academic journey, I found inspiration in my own challenges, the challenges of my community, along with the stories of other communities and people I have met along the way. These experiences gave me a new perspective and made me aware of the ways in which I have privilege and how it impacts my journey. I was able to create meaningful relationships, and their stories continue to strengthen my views on the significance of providing access and opportunities to enhance social mobility.


Who has been supportive to you in your academic journey?

  • My partner Manny and daughter Tori have always been there for me since day one and have always been my biggest cheerleaders, providing unwavering support.
  • My parents checking up on me and reminding me to take breaks.
  • The friends I have made in the MPH program, we have been through a lot together, from the fun times to the challenging days.
  • My job has been accommodating of my schedule and time commitments.


What kind of impact do you hope to make in the world of Public Health and why?

I am interested in data representation, such as understanding how data is communicated and understood, and the potential effects this has on communities. My goal is to promote the use of ethical data, advocate for resources and policy improvements, and foster partnerships that prioritize community needs. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate years, I have been a mentor to students, and I still see myself continuing to help students interested in science, public health, and research, as well as those navigating academia.