Work That Has a Real Human Impact: Reflections on Health Policy Research
March 1, 2017
The Bass Connections NC Medicaid Reform Advisory Team combines Duke’s expertise in public policy, law, medicine and business under the umbrella of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. Team members are crafting a Medicaid reform proposal designed to fit the constraints and demands of North Carolina politics, especially in light of the revised political landscape resulting from the 2016 elections.
Sophomore Kushal Kadakia is majoring in biology and public policy, with a minor in global health. He shared his views on health policy research and reflected on his experience with this project; comments are excerpted from an interview with the Duke-Margolis Center.
I’m interested in health policy because I think it’s a field that allows me to work on one of the nation’s biggest policy problems that has a real human impact.
I find health policy personally rewarding because I think it’s a way for me to connect everything I’ve learned in the classroom to a problem that affects every single American. Health care is something that all of us are involved with, whether it’s as a patient, as a provider or as a policy maker.
One in every five North Carolinians receives care through Medicaid. Working to try to make the system more efficient, more effective and deliver better value to patients is exactly why I’m studying health policy in the first place.
One of the really great things about this course is that it puts you on the front lines of policymaking in North Carolina.
Bass Connections equips its students with both content about a field they’re interested in as well as the competencies to succeed in that area of inquiry. As a student who is interested in a career in health policy, I can’t think of a better preparation for my future than to take a course that is completely designed to help students think of innovative policy solutions that try to make care delivery better for people in the state that they’re living in.
I think one of the really great things about this course is that it puts you on the front lines of policymaking in North Carolina. I’ve gotten the chance to meet senior officials in the Department of Health and Human Services, people from academic health centers and leading private insurers. Being able to connect all the different dots of this puzzle is how I’ve been able to learn so much about the health system, and try to translate that into policy action.
Talking to legislators from the general assembly, meeting the people who are really leading this reform effort and synthesizing all their viewpoints has put me on the ground, in the middle of the action.
Working to try to make the system more efficient, more effective and deliver better value to patients is exactly why I’m studying health policy in the first place.
I think the most surprising thing about this course is that I’ve learned how many myths there are about Medicaid or health policy in general. Working with my professors and with policymakers to really unpack all the complex details and find out what is the best solution we can provide to patients has been a fascinating experience.
In the future, I hope to have one foot in academia and one foot in the public sphere, using this experience as a platform for how research at the university level can be translated into policy action in the real world to make an impact in my community.