Trained as an obstetrician–gynecologist in China, Dr. Yongmei Huang’s professional goal was to become a medical scientist. She completed her PhD from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and sought out a postdoctoral fellowship program abroad to advance her training and ability to publish in English-language scholarly journals.
At the recommendation of her graduate program mentor, she applied and was accepted to the Population Council’s Fred H. Bixby fellowship program—which matched early-career social and biomedical scientists from low- and middle-income countries with experienced Council mentors.
At the Population Council’s Center for Biomedical Research (CBR) in New York, Dr. Huang was mentored by distinguished scientists including Drs. Ruth Merkatz and Régine Sitruk-Ware and worked on the development of the Annovera® contraceptive vaginal ring and on the introduction of the progesterone vaginal ring for lactating women in India. The experience provided her with a better understanding of the sexual and reproductive health needs of underserved populations around the world, and she changed her focus from the individual patient to the broader public health level.
Dr. Huang continued on to earn a Master’s degree from the Harvard University School of Public Health and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University. She is also serving as an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, where she conducts epidemiological research to improve health outcomes with a focus on health disparities and promoting health equality.