Carving a Career Path to Science & Health Policy: A Conversation with Shanta Whitaker PhD ’08, Senior Vice President at Venn Strategies

Watch the 60-minute seminar session with Dr. Shanta Whitaker here.

As part of the STEM PhD Pathways Program and in collaboration with Yale Science Diplomats, OCS McDougal Fellows hosted Dr. Shanta Whitaker (PhD ’08, Microbiology) to spotlight career paths in science and health policy. On March 7, Dr. Whitaker shared her career journey and 10+ years insight into launching a career in this field.

During this session, Dr. Whitaker touched upon the following topics:  

  • Overview of what is science policy
  • Broad overview of career paths in the science and health policy field
  • Dr. Whitaker’s career growth and journey to current position
  • The pitfalls to be aware of – and try to avoid – when pursuing this career path  
  • What skills or opportunities to seek when planning for a career in science and health policy

Shanta Whitaker (PhD’08, Microbiology)

Dr. Shanta Whitaker

Inspired by a desire to help and serve the most vulnerable, Dr. Shanta Whitaker left the laboratory bench and academia to pursue a career in public health policy. She is currently a senior vice president in the health policy group at Venn Strategies, a government affairs firm in Washington, DC. Dr. Whitaker is also a managing director at Continuum Health Group, a public health and health disparities policy firm based in Washington, DC. Shanta joined Venn and Continuum from her position at LMI as a Health Policy Consultant to CMS, where she served as a subject matter expert on Medicare and Medicaid Shared Savings Programs and worked extensively with Accountable Care Organizations. Shanta has also been a senior health disparities analyst for the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, has served as an editor for American Journal Experts, and was a post-doctoral fellow with the North Carolina State Public Health Laboratory. Shanta received her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University, a doctorate in microbiology from Yale University, and a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

This event was co-hosted by Haofan Li and Janani Baskaran, previous McDougal Fellows at the Office of Career Strategy and the Yale Student Science Diplomats.

By Janani Baskaran
Janani Baskaran McDougal Career Fellow