Program II T'19
Current PositionSenior Associate, Healthcare Accounts Group, Singapore Economic Development Board
When I first decided to apply to Bass Connections teams, I assumed I would join one related to artificial intelligence or neuroscience — those were my main areas of interest, after all. I changed my mind when I heard about the Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI) project.
The subject of global health was new to me. Yet, I found the project’s broad scale combined with its focus on disability appealing. I realized that exploring global health could be a way to stretch myself outside of my usual disciplines.
The team had three workstreams; mine focused primarily on China. We were seeking to understand medication adherence among Chinese stroke patients. At the time I joined, our team leaders had already initiated the qualitative study and conducted interviews in China of patients, providers and even hospital administrators to understand what barriers they might be facing. Together, we then transcribed and analyzed those interviews to look for common themes that needed to be addressed, and ultimately formed recommendations.
This project opened my eyes to the systemic nature of global health problems — even problems as specific as medication adherence. We can observe the difference that factors such as education and socioeconomic status make on the patient level, but whether the provider has enough time to explain the importance of taking the medication matters too. On a higher level, the government’s reimbursement system also impacts medication adherence.
These lessons about the complexity of global health shifted my worldview and shaped my interests going forward. Because of this experience with GANDHI, I went on to pursue a master of science in community health and prevention research at Stanford to deepen my understanding of what it meant to work on the ground and across various community partners to improve healthcare outcomes.
Now, in my role as a senior associate in the Healthcare Accounts Group at the Singapore Economic Development Board, I work with global leaders in the healthcare industry such as multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies, digital health startups, government agencies and hospitals to facilitate innovation as well as supply of life-saving and life-enhancing interventions to patients.
At its best, healthcare is like an ecosystem; different entities collaborate in webs of exchange. Much of my work now follows a similar pattern to that of my Bass Connections team: we analyze factors such as driving forces and challenges faced by different stakeholders so that we can make recommendations for them, individually and in partnership.
My Bass Connections experience helped me to build skills that I might not have encountered in the regular curriculum, such as synthesizing findings across multiple different stakeholder interviews, which turned out to be foundational for my future education and career. Moreover, it was a privilege to work with and learn from such an interdisciplinary team comprising stellar individuals whom I might not otherwise have met at Duke. I also remain deeply grateful to Dr. Janet Prvu Bettger for mentoring the GANDHI team and being such a strong advocate for me beyond Bass Connections — her support was crucial to my Program II degree, thesis for graduation with distinction and acceptance to Stanford. Taken together, what I learned and who I met through Bass Connections have deeply impacted my personal and professional journey.