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FIRST Center's First-Ever Doctoral Student Defends Her Thesis

Ashley Geczik, MPH, earns her doctoral degree

View Ashley's defense presentation with Q&A 

May 17, 2024 | 10:20am

This past Wednesday, the FIRST Center's first-ever doctoral student, now Dr. Ashley Geczik, defended her doctoral thesis.

Ashley worked with FIRST under the leadership of Dr. Jennifer Taylor and her defense committee to examine data collected from the first waves of the Fire service Organizational Culture of Safety (FOCUS) survey. In total, she conducted three separate studies with three specific aims.

  • Specific Aim 1: She investigated individual and department-level characteristics of the survey sample and independently examined the association between safety climate and downstream outcomes in the FOCUS 1.0 and 2.0 survey waves.
  • Specific Aim 2: She evaluated departmental changes and changes in FOCUS safety climate scores between FOCUS 1.0 and 2.0 assessments.
  • Specific Aim 3: She developed an EMS Safety Compliance behavior scale for the FOCUS 3.0 survey.

Ashley pursued her doctoral training with the FIRST Center because she is the daughter of a 9/11 disaster recovery worker and wanted to give back to the fire and rescue service. Her dissertation research is focused broadly on department safety climate and its associations with organizational and safety outcomes, like burnout, job satisfaction, mental health, and injuries.

Ashley received her BS in Biology from Loyola University, Maryland in 2015. She received her MPH in Epidemiology with a certificate in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2017. Prior to starting her doctoral training, Ashley worked as an epidemiology research analyst at the National Cancer Institute in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch.

Ashley dedicates her dissertation research to the members of the US fire and rescue service for whom this work was conducted. She thanks those that completed the FOCUS survey for their participation, which made her dissertation research possible.