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Faculty & Staff Profiles

Associate Professor, Public Health Sciences

2021 Abigail Silva Professor Headshot Loyola HQ.jfif
  • I am an epidemiologist and health equity researcher with more than a decade of applied public health experiences. In addition to serving as an associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and Director of the Epidemiology Track of the MPH program,  I am also  a research health scientist at the Hines VA Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare. My research focuses on examining factors that impact the incidence, distribution, and control of health states with the goal of informing policy and interventions that improve outcomes and address health inequities.

    • PhD in Epidemiology, University of Illinois at Chicago
    • MPH in Epidemiology, University of Illinois at Chicago
    • BA in Chemistry and Spanish Literature, Loyola University Chicago

    What prompted you to pursue your field?

    In college, I did my pre-med course work but majored in Spanish Literature and minored in Chemistry and Theology. After graduation, I took a "gap" year to study for the MCAT and work. However, that summer I was accepted into the University of Illinois at Chicago's Summer Enrichment Program in the School of Public Health. After I learned about John Snow and the 1854 cholera outbreak, I was sold! I found it powerful that there was a scientific field that focused on improving the health of whole populations.

    Why is this area of study important at this point in time?

    In the United States, cancer is diagnosed in almost two million people each year and is the second leading cause of death. Prevention and treatment of the main cancers exist but they are not fully accessible to many people and so economic, geographic, and racial inequities arise. As advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer increases, the most vulnerable populations tend to get left behind. This is NOT inevitable. My line of work seeks to draw attention to these issues by focusing on structural and modifiable factors.

    What called you to or attracted you to Loyola?

    I received my undergraduate education here! It is at Loyola where I learned about the Catholic social justice tradition and it resonated with me. The commitment to human dignity, the common good, and solidarity with people who are marginalized has stayed with me since. I am blessed to be back at my alma mater.


    Here is a link to my publications.