Dinner with Dr. Elizabeth Talbot

On May 4, a group of Dartmouth students had the privilege to listen and learn from Dr. Elizabeth Talbot. Dr. Elizabeth Talbot is a physician, professor, researcher, epidemiology expert, and public health leader. Since graduating from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and completing her residency in internal medicine at Duke, Dr. Talbot has since worked with the CDC, the WHO, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the Geisel School of Medicine, and the state of New Hampshire as Deputy State Epidemiologist.

While at Duke, Dr. Talbot had focused on poverty-related medicine and now studies poverty-related diseases such as TB. She had explained that because diseases such as TB impact poor populations, companies may not have strong incentives to develop tools to alleviate the impacts of these issues.

During her conversation with Dartmouth students, Dr. Elizabeth spoke about her experience in the epidemiological field, telling us that, “protecting those who put themselves in harms away is a moral obligation.” She had emphasized one of her own experiences working throughout the Ebola epidemic, in which she helped develop a training tool in the use of PPE through a collaboration between Dartmouth, Massachusetts General, and the Ebola University. She felt that the loss of healthcare workers during the Ebola epidemic was unnecessary. 

She describes her role as a doctor and public health experiment as one that is pluripotent. For Dr. Talbot, her scope is one that extends beyond an individual patient and encompasses policy development, politics, international development, and standards of living. What attracted Dr. Talbot to policy is the ability to implement longer-lasting programs and solutions.