Intern Stories

Institute for e-Health Policy Intern Spotlights

Jake LearyDanielle George
Danielle George, then a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Health Information Management, began her Institute for e-Health Policy Summer internship at the HIMSS Government Relations office in June 2013, seeking to apply her interests in health policy and management, health disparities, and improving patient care to a professional environment. “I hoped to gain a better understanding of health policy especially on the federal level and how health IT could drastically change healthcare in the future”.

During her internship, Danielle worked closely with HIMSS staff and fellow Institute interns on introducing members of the Tri-Caucus (Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus) to HIMSS and how the association can serve as a resource to Congress. She also attended a variety of congressional hearings and wrote articles for the weekly Health IT Policy Update eNewsletter.

Says Danielle, "I've learned more in depth of the current issues of health IT and the impact it makes to all in improving the quality and continuity of care and the possibilities of bringing access to healthcare for underserved populations."

After graduating from college, Danielle hopes to begin working in the healthcare field, potentially at a hospital, EHR vendor, insurance company, or state health department.

Jake LearyJonathan Leary
Jonathan “Jake” Leary began his internship with the Institute for e-Health Policy in June 2013, working with the HIMSS Congressional Affairs team. Among his work and projects, Jake attended Congressional committee hearings, participated in congressional office visits, wrote articles for the Health IT Policy Update, and researched pending congressional bills related to health IT—comparing them to the HIMSS Public Policy Principles. In addition, Jake updated the Legislative Action Center on the HIMSS website, making sure that all current congressional legislation was posted on the site. Through these projects, Jake gained a better understanding of the legislative process, saying, “This experience has allowed me to see how what Congress does applies to everyday life.”

Coming from West Milford, NJ, Jake was a rising junior at the University of Connecticut majoring in political science and minoring in history. After college, Jake hoped to work in fields similar to that of the HIMSS Government Relations Team. “The Institute for e-Health Policy has allowed me to see that advocacy is a potential career opportunity. It is something that I enjoy and see myself working with in the future”.

Jassen LuJassen Lu
Jassen Lu began his internship at the HIMSS Foundation’s Institute for e-Health Policy in June 2013, working on government services and federal affairs activities for the Government Relations Team. “I chose to intern at HIMSS because of its proximity to Washington and its role in interacting with the Federal Government and policy to accomplish its mission.” During his internship, his duties included writing articles for the Federal Affairs section of the Health IT Policy Update and researching a variety of health IT topics and initiatives of the Federal Government. His main project was to research the Federal Government’s Defense-Veterans Affairs integrated electronic health record (iEHR) initiative, which seeks to integrate the medical records of service members and veterans into a continuous and streamlined system. In contributing to other Federal Affairs initiatives, Jassen also researched the Cypress EHR testing tool as well as patient safety organizations (PSOs) and their roles in the health information technology modernization.

“I initially thought of health IT as just a means of storing and accessing health records in a faster, easier, and safer way; now, I realize that health IT is really a keystone to resolving many healthcare problems plaguing America such as unaffordable costs and substandard care”. Originally from New Hampshire, Jassen was a rising junior at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, pursuing a Politics and Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP) double major along with a Hispanic Studies minor.

Kovida RaoKovida Rao
Kovida Rao began her internship with HIMSS in early June 2013, working with the State Government Affairs Team in hopes of gaining a better understanding of health policy and health IT.

As her internship progressed, Kovida’s role expanded to include assisting the Health Information Systems team by conducting research on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that are taking part in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. The information collected on ACOs was input into the HIMSS State HIT Dashboard.

Kovida also participated in Chapter Advocacy Roundtable Calls to gain a better understanding of advocacy at the state level. Kovida had the opportunity to attend the Government Health IT Conference where she was exposed to health IT topics including interoperability, patient-centered care, and military acquisition processes in relation to health IT.

Kovida was a pre-med senior at the University of Michigan Dearborn pursuing a major in Health Policy Studies with a minor in Spanish. When asked to reflect on her time at HIMSS, Kovida responded, “HIMSS has allowed me to see a side of medicine that isn’t ‘strictly clinical.’ Health IT is going to immediately change the way medicine is taught. This internship truly is a valuable experience and the knowledge I’ve gained is something I will be able to apply on a daily basis in the future.”

Kevin ReidKevin Reid
As a 2011 Institute for e-Health Policy intern, Kevin Reid spent two semesters studying and tracking health IT legislation and regulatory issues, as well as assisting with the Institute’s Congressional Luncheon Series, which educates Members of Congress and their staff about health IT policy issues. The Institute for e-Health Policy is part of the HIMSS Foundation.

What is unique about Kevin is that he was also serving on active duty the U.S. Navy. Kevin was a Chief Petty Officer and Hospital Corpsman during the time of his internship. In his then- 17 years in the Navy, he served on Navy ships, with the Marines, and in military hospitals ashore. Because of his stellar service record and demonstrated potential, the Navy allowed him to take time off from his Navy duties to pursue a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration (HCA) at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.

At Marymount, Kevin’s school advisor told him about internship opportunities with the Institute for e-Health Policy. He had recently completed a Healthcare Informatics course and had become familiar with the Institute and HIMSS. In his “Intern Reflection” report upon completing the Institute Internship Program, Kevin wrote, “this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that will enhance my future career as a Naval Officer. As a result of my learning experience, I am considering health IT as a career focus in the Navy and beyond.”

Kevin graduated with his Masters Degree in HCA and was commissioned as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade, in the Navy Medical Service Corps where he is now serving as a Healthcare Administrator. His first duty assignment as a commissioned officer was with the 3rd Medical Battalion in Okinawa Japan. Kevin and his wife, Kim, have three daughters.

Nate SeeskinNate Seeskin
Nate Seeskin began as an Institute for e-Health Policy intern with the HIMSS Government Relations Team in May 2013, hoping to gain a better sense of a policy-centered career while integrating his experience in communications and health from past internships. “I have always desired to work in this type of fast-paced environment where I can practice the skills needed in responding to new policy developments and allowing me to deal and interact with a variety of stakeholders.”

During his internship, Nate wrote articles for the weekly Health IT Policy Update, reported on Congressional hearings, regularly attended healthcare conferences and meetings, and drafted a summary of the HITECH Act for congressional staff. “HIMSS has taught me greatly about health and health IT policy from a standpoint that I never thought of beforehand.”   Nate was a rising senior studying political science at American University in Washington, DC and is a Saint Louis, MO native.  His past internships include the Children’s Law Center in Washington, DC and the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved in Arlington, VA.

Aishini ThiyagarajanAishini Thiyagarajan
Aishini Thiyagarajan was a rising senior at Cornell University when she joined the HIMSS Foundation’s Institute for e-Health Policy as an Intern in the summer of 2013. At Cornell she studied Policy Analysis and Management and Human Development with a concentration in Aging and Health. Aishini returned to the Government Relations Team after externing in January 2013.

Her major project for the summer was meeting with the members of the Tri-Caucus (the Congressional Asian Pacific American, Black, and Hispanic Caucuses) on Capitol Hill and communicating the value of health IT in reducing health disparities. Specifically, she worked on educating members about HIMSS’ Privacy and Security Toolkit, the Small Business and Diversity Round Table, and the Davies Awards, HIMSS tools that recognize health IT as an instrumental tool in reducing health disparities.

During her time with HIMSS, Aishini also wrote articles for the weekly Health IT Policy Update reporting on meetings and briefings she attended on Capitol Hill. Additionally, as the senior intern, Aishini helped organize the HIMSS Summer Lunch-&-Learn series which allowed interns the opportunity to present on various topics related to health IT. Commenting on her experience, Aishini said, “HIMSS has allowed me the opportunity to not only learn about the value of health IT, but also to communicate that value to our nation’s capital”.