Congratulations to Meghna Iyer, former HEI, on her recent publication “Improving guardrail damage reporting and responding to promote injury prevention in motor vehicle crashes” published in the Journal of Road Safety on August 10, 2022.
Meghna Iyer recently graduated from Bouvé College of Health Sciences’ with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science in 2022 and is a current MPH candidate at Northeastern University.
In December 2019, Meghna received the opportunity to work with the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research (IHESJR)as a Health Equity Intern. On Christmas Eve, 2019, her friend was in a car crash after her car swerved over a patch of black ice and into the guardrail. The effects of the crash resulted in her friend losing her left leg, fracturing her right leg and spine, and losing half the blood in her body. While working with the IHESJR and learning more about social justice and health equity, she found herself thinking more about what had happened to her friend.
“A car crash could happen to anyone and the recovery from it could change the course of a person’s life. My friend’s situation should not become a common one and I wanted to make sure it did not.” – Meghna Iyer
Motivated by her friend’s experience, Meghna sought ways in which she could inspire changes to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring. In doing so she reached out to Dr. Alisa Lincoln, Director of the IHESJR, and Suzanne Garverich, Program Director of the IHESJR, for advice on what she could do. Through their mentorship, Meghna developed a research project with the goal of improving guardrail damage reporting to promote injury prevention in motor vehicle crashes.
As Meghna’s first introduction to research, she encountered several roadblocks due to her limited research experience. She noted difficulties in not only her lack of familiarity with certain skills, but also in navigating the publishing process and balancing the commitments of her daily life with her research. However, with Suzanne and Alisa’s guidance, support, and mentorship, she was able to work through these challenges and further develop her skills.
Meghna with the support of Alisa and Suzanne, conducted interviews with professionals in the field, analyzed data, created executive summaries to share impactful results, presented at conferences, and wrote results and recommendations in a brief report for publication.
The project was funded by three Northeastern University Office of Research and Fellowships’ PEAK awards and expanded into her direct study. Meghna cited the structure of the PEAK awards to have helped her in developing, formatting, and navigating the process as a first-time researcher.
After several years of hard work Meghna’s report was accepted by the Journal of Road Safety in July 2022 and published in August 2022. Her time working on this project solidified her desire to pursue public health and medicine and has inspired her friend in her journey to normalcy. She is immensely grateful to everyone who supported her friend, and in turn, this project. Meghna hopes to continue to combine public health and medicine to reduce health disparities as a pediatrician.
We at the Institute are extremely proud of Meghna’s outstanding accomplishments and hard work. Her inspirational story demonstrates how through passion, hard work, and determination, reaching your goals and aspirations are achievable.
For those inspired by Meghna’s story and would like to follow in her footsteps she offers the following advice: reach out to faculty to find a mentor you trust and feel comfortable talking to and remember to not give up. Most faculty are excited to guide and support student’s passions in the field so don’t be afraid to contact them. Also, perseverance is an essential part of research. While the process is long and can be frustrating at times, reminding yourself of why you are doing this work is an extremely important part of the process. As Meghna mentioned, “research is more than just publishing a paper,” there is a reason motivating your work, so remind yourself of the “why” when facing those challenges and roadblocks and remember to not give up.
Read Meghna’s paper here.
Iyer, M., Garverich, S., & Lincoln, A. (2022). Improving guardrail damage reporting and responding to promote injury prevention in motor vehicle crashes. Journal of Road Safety, (August), 55-60. https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-22-00007