This morning I helped present a Strategic Plan for a new venture to the executive committee for the [redacted] Health System. I am a Business Analyst for [redacted], and financial and data analysis make up the largest parts of my responsibilities. I am versed in financial analysis and planning, and I am currently responsible for integrating several databases into the larger [redacted] data structure, increasing our health care system’s access to meaningful patient and financial data. I enjoy many aspects of my job, and I currently am in the place I want to be, doing what I want to do. My interest in further education has everything to do with where I want to go from here.
My current position affords me an understanding of the health care system from a managerial perspective, however, my past experiences continue to drive my curiosity about the ways in which health care functions globally, and the ways in which we can use this knowledge to improve access to care and health outcomes. Three years ago, I had the opportunity to travel Southeast Asia for about six months. While in rural Indonesia my friend, Jeff, contracted an aggressive strain of pseudomonas bacteria in his right eye – characterized by rapid progression – and needed to be treated immediately. The iris had clouded over, and the doctor at the local hospital informed us that his cornea was becoming “like the cheese with the holes.”
Jeff eventually made a full recovery, but in this situation, others would have been at serious risk of blindness or death. According to the physician who treated Jeff, many Indonesians who contract this type of pseudomonas lose the affected eye and sometimes parts of their face, due to physical and financial accessibility barriers to health care. For Jeff, on that day and in that place, those barriers were low. Jeff was able to travel to find care, and the cost of living worked in his favor; his total bill came to $24 USD. Others in Indonesia, and many in the United States, face barriers which discourage them from seeking care that would otherwise improve and extend their lives.
I have witnessed similar issues of access in many of the countries that I have visited. Last summer I spent some time at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic where a friend had been volunteering for the year. While there I got to know a volunteer physician who was personally struggling with resource allocation and her sense of beneficence. She was caught between the stated goals of the organization (to care for the kids) and the obvious needs that fell outside those goals (the overwhelming poverty in the surrounding communities.) The ramifications of conflicts such as this one become more apparent in situations of scarcity, increasing the importance of thoughtful allocation when viewed from a public health perspective – a theoretical statement that I watched unfold in real life as cholera, and panic, began to spread out of Haiti and into the Dominican Republic. Personal, community, economic, and even ethical conflicts make these decisions complex. Organizational values do not always align with what individual actors believe to be best for the health of the public. This conflict interests me, and is one that I would like to explore further academically.
While investigating my path into Public Health, I met with Dr. [redacted] to discuss my varied interests. We discussed the importance and development of Edge organizations to meet the demands of healthcare reform and the analysis of patient outcomes and quality as a reimbursement model. The areas of interest that I’ve not yet been able to explore in my professional life, but that have grown from my study and travel abroad are access to clean water, access to care, disaster management, and resource allocation. I hope to one day be able to pursue these in my professional life, and pursuing them academically will best prepare me to achieve that goal.
I believe that [redacted] is the best place for me to explore my academic interests in Public Health. I do not yet know exactly where I would like to end up, but I do know I will use the principles I learn to guide my career to contributing to the health of the public – whether it continues to be in the analysis of data to examine patient outcomes, or whether it ends up being more hands on, such as increasing access to potable water.
This statement gained admittance to a top School of Public Health — the only program to which the applicant applied.