“All innovation happens at the edges of two different disciplines”.
Priyanka Vyas is a researcher, an interdisciplinary scholar, consultant, and a teacher who works at the intersection of public health, urban planning, and GIS. She started her career as a business journalist, reporting on trade, business and policy issues. While she was a journalist, she became curious to understand the tools and techniques to analyze public policy programs and how they can be made more effective. This led to her interest in public policy and public administration.
She earned her PhD in public policy and political economy from the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences from the University of Texas, Dallas. During her PhD she worked on a variety of public health projects that ranged from child immunization to maternal and child health to understanding the spatial distribution of public health facilities and the role of health policy in contributing to inequities in access. She became specially interested in the power of spatial analysis to understand issues related to public health, environmental justice and inform public policy decision-making.
As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine, she worked on research projects pertaining to neighborhood characteristics and its association with health behavior and outcomes. She continues to maintain this interest and has now extended her research to examining issues related to climate change, environmental justice and continue to ask questions related to place, health, and public policy.
She has taught across different departments such as Urban Planning and Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, Geography and Environmental Studies and Public Health. She enjoys working with students on solving problems that require an interdisciplinary perspective.