Where Are They Now?
Tina Xu, University of California Berkeley
Washington was abuzz in January of 2009 with the upcoming inauguration of then President-elect Barack Obama, and HIT was a hot topic as the HITECH Act and Stimulus Plan were being drafted. Tina jumped right into the political excitement. “My two week externship with HIMSS stimulated my professional growth and opened a new area of interest – health policy.” Read more >>
UC Berkeley Extern, Winter 2009
Meha Goyal, Baylor University
One of Meha’s primary tasks was updating and maintaining the HIMSS Dashboard, an information database detailing state health information technology (HIT) legislation. “Reviewing the legislation and engaging in projects with HIMSS membership as they endeavored to educate the healthcare profession about HIT was the most meaningful part of the internship.” Read more >>
State Government Affairs Intern, Summer and Fall 2008
Steven Maggio, Pennsylvania State University
Steve’s decision to return to HIMSS was in part due to the organization’s dedication to providing interns with a meaningful work in their areas of interest. “[As interns] we are all assigned to a department, but you really get your hands in every sector.” Read more >>
Communications Intern, Summer 2008
Congressional Affairs Intern, Summer 2009
Rabia Khan, MPH
Rabia cites her internships with the HIMSS Foundation’s Institute for e-Health Policy as being a critical piece in her professional training as she embarks on her new career with the federal government. “HIMSS offered me the opportunities to build my professional background and to be among healthcare leaders who make a difference in policy today.” Read more >>
In the winter of 2009, Tina Xu, then a junior at the University of California, Berkeley, participated in HIMSS’ UC Berkeley Externship Program. The program brings Berkeley undergraduates to the HIMSS Government Relations Headquarters for a two week, hands-on health policy internship. Tina and her fellow intern Alan Yap, a Molecular Cell Biology major from the University of Melbourne, Australia studying abroad at Berkeley, spent a whirlwind two weeks shadowing each department. “The coolest part was attending roundtable discussions with HIMSS members,” Tina fondly remembers. David Roberts, Vice President of Government Relations, HIMSS, introduced the two interns to many professionals including Dr. Harry Greenspun, Chief Medical Officer, Dell Services healthcare group. This was a dream come true for Tina, who at the time was still debating whether or not she wanted to become a doctor. “Dr. Greenspun was my first professional contact and my introduction to networking,” said Tina.
Washington was abuzz in January of 2009 with the upcoming inauguration of then President-elect Barack Obama, and HIT was a hot topic as the HITECH Act and Stimulus Plan were being drafted. Tina and Alan jumped right into the political excitement. They researched and summarized the 2008 Congressional Budget Office’s Budget Option 47: Require the Use of Health Information Technology as a Condition of Participation in Medicare. Smaller projects included visiting newly elected congressmen and women in order to drop off informational packets and to introduce them to HIMSS. “We also had the opportunity to meet with a health legislative assistant from Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock’s office,” said Tina, “which taught us how to pitch our thoughts to political leaders and their staff members.”
After returning home to California, Tina worked with the Youth Reproduction Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Her primary task was the organization and implementation of the clinic’s move from paper records to electronic health records (EHRs). “I witnessed first-hand the difficulties to implementation that I had learned about while working at HIMSS including, lack of funding and manpower,” said Tina. Her experience in the clinic inspired her to continue working within healthcare to address the problems providers face while attempting to update their systems.
She credits her externship at HIMSS as “kick-starting” her professional interest in healthcare. “It stimulated my professional growth and opened a new area of interest – health policy. My two week experience at HIMSS confirmed my desire to work within the healthcare field,” said Tina. “I was exposed to the problems and inefficient practices plaguing our nation’s healthcare system. I became more aware and observant…HIMSS provided me with a new [health IT] perspective and taught me to approach my career in medicine and research with a broader scope in mind.”
Tina graduated from the University of California, Berkeley this May with a B.A. in Integrative Biology. She is currently deciding whether she will pursue an MD, MPH or and MD/MS. Her ideal career path includes conducting medical research, yet she remains interested in exploring the interconnections between healthcare, health IT, and public policy.
In the summer and fall of 2008, Meha Goyal, an undergraduate pre-med student at Baylor University, interned with HIMSS’ State Government Relations department. One of her primary tasks was updating and maintaining the HIMSS Dashboard, an information database detailing state health information technology (HIT) legislation. “Reviewing the legislation and engaging in projects with HIMSS membership as they endeavored to educate the healthcare profession about HIT was the most meaningful part of the internship,” said Meha. “This experience showed me the challenges HIT professionals face every day. It also taught me about the various initiatives taking place across the nation in terms of HIT and electronic medical records (EMRs).”
Meha also had the opportunity to work with the Congressional Affairs team, writing up fact sheets about certain pieces of federal legislation and initiatives that addressed HIT, such as health information exchanges (HIEs). As an intern, Meha participated in HIMSS Policy Summit and Advocacy Day 2008, an annual HIMSS event that brings HIT policy stakeholders from across the U.S. to the nation’s capital to engage with their elected officials during National Health IT Week.
Meha has continued her involvement with HIMSS attending events like the Policy Summit and Advocacy Day 2009. As the 2010 HIMSS Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship recipient, she received a trip to the 2010 HIMSS Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. “The annual conference was unimaginably large,” said Meha, “with a variety of educational sessions, bringing a variety of healthcare professionals and administrators together in a unique fashion. It was an amalgam of inspiring individuals and perspectives to an aspiring physician like me. Everyone had something to learn and something to teach. As a fellow medical student, Parth Modi, and I discussed towards the end of HIMSS ’10, no words do the annual conference justice. In his words, ‘HIMSS is something you just have to see to believe.’”
This summer Meha is interning with Baylor Healthcare System (BHCS) in Dallas, TX. The internship involves two aspects: shadowing Dr. Joseph H. Schneider, the CMIO of BHCS, and a research project. The project explores the effects of EHRs on medical students’ education. “I see the grassroots efforts of carrying out these initiatives. The policy and background knowledge I have gained through engagement in HIMSS activities in the past few years gave me a framework to understand the efforts taking place at Baylor Healthcare System,” said Meha.
Meha is a rising senior at Baylor University in Waco, TX. She will attend Baylor College of Medicine in the fall of 2011 and may later pursue an MBA or MHA. She hopes to practice medicine while also pursuing informatics initiatives. In addition, she is particularly interest in mentoring and educating those pursuing education in medicine or informatics, a passion which stems from her own educational experience with HIMSS. “HIMSS has truly been a transformational body in my education and journey towards a career in medicine,” said Meha. “Three years ago, I was a typical pre-medical student that knew nothing about the healthcare industry. Today, I am much more educated about the various aspects that go into providing healthcare and improving the American healthcare systems. HIMSS provided, and continues to provide, an immense amount of exposure to how informatics influences clinical care.”
In the summer of 2008, Steven Maggio, then a student at Pennsylvania State University Honors College, interned at the HIMSS Government Relations Headquarters within the public relations department. He returned the following summer to intern with the government relations department. It’s rare that internships extend beyond one semester or summer, but when it happens it’s clear that both parties are doing something right. His decision to return to HIMSS was in part due to the organization’s dedication to providing interns with a meaningful work in their areas of interest. “[As interns] we are all assigned to a department, but you really get your hands in every sector,” said Steve.
His first week at HIMSS happened to be National Health IT week, during which he was introduced to both influential people in the field and to the key tenants of health IT (HIT). “I was really immersed with everything,” remembers Steve. In the summer of 2009, during the heat of the healthcare reform debate, he had the opportunity to read the numerous healthcare reform bills. A student passionate about healthcare policy, Steve describes it as “an awesome experience.” While working as the public relations intern, he drafted press releases and conducted interviews of top ranking officials, something he had never had the chance to do before. By the end of the summer he felt quite comfortable speaking with such leaders in the field and had learned much from their conversations. When asked to describe the most memorable experience his work at HIMSS provided, without hesitation, Steve said, “When we visited my congressional office. I got to meet my representative in addition to seeing how advocating really works. I saw how everything we did in the office will, in the end, effect policy.”
Now a graduate from the Pennsylvania State University, Honors College with a degree in Health Policy and Administration, Steve is currently working for the Hudson Information Technology for Community Health (HITCH). He is the project manager on a HEAL 10 grant, a $6 million grant awarded by the New York State Department of Health, for Hudson River Health Care. “HIT plays a huge role in the grant; essentially forming its backbone…The Heal 10 grant uses electronic health records (EHRs) as an important tool for disease management for care managers to use. [It] allows us to expand the EHR’s capabilities to include interoperability among specialists, clinical decision support, and to create an interface for patients to access their health record at home via web portal,” said Steve. “The entire project is centered on HIT. Almost everything I worked on at HIMSS has helped me.”
After completing his year and a half position with HITCH, Steve plans to take his real life experience working in HIT back to Washington, DC to inform policy. “My true passion is healthcare policy. I feel that policy both positively drives and, unfortunately, holds back many initiatives in healthcare as well as overall policy.” It’s fitting that Steve, who so greatly appreciated the opportunity to visit his congressman and advocate for HIT, hopes to return to Capitol Hill to work for a congressional office. Perhaps he’ll have the pleasure of interacting with future HIMSS interns.
In the spring and summer of 2010, Rabia Khan, then a graduate student at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, interned at the HIMSS Foundation’s Institute for e-Health Policy and interacted with staff from both the HIMSS’ Regional Affairs and Government Relations departments. Rabia’s continuation after the spring internship was due to the organizations’ numerous opportunities to develop and enhance professional skills while engaging in challenging, yet meaningful work. “Health IT is advancing and moving forward at such a quick pace,” said Rabia. “HIMSS keeps interns deeply involved with the new changes and in touch with the industry.”
During Rabia’s spring semester with the Institute, she was involved in researching and collecting data regarding each state’s health IT funding, plans, and past initiatives to assist in monitoring state health IT operations. Although this was a large task, Rabia said, “The work was a great learning experience, my interest in state policy was strengthened by the interaction I had with state offices, the various stakeholder meetings, and my improved understanding of state government operations.”
During the summer, Rabia had the opportunity to assist with HIMSS’ 9th Annual Policy Summit during National Health IT Week, and to work with the Government Relations department in building a foundation for the Life Sciences Initiative. Rabia worked with Congressional staff to arrange meetings between HIMSS members and their Representatives/Senators to discuss health IT issues and concerns. Along with her experience working with the Institute for e-Health Policy Congressional Briefings, Rabia “was able to meet various leaders and professionals in the healthcare field, as well as connect with Congressional staff.”
The Life Sciences Initiative offered Rabia insight into a field she had little experience with. “I did not have a deep understanding of the life sciences, but HIMSS staff was so knowledgeable and engaged, I learned a great deal and was able to assist in analysis of various relevant topics,” said Rabia.
Now a graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Rabia has begun working as a Program Analyst at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) within the Health Assessment and Quality Measurement Group of the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality. Rabia cites her internships with the HIMSS Foundation’s Institute for e-Health Policy as being a critical piece in her professional training as she embarks on her new career with the federal government. “HIMSS offered me the opportunities to build my professional background and to be among healthcare leaders who make a difference in policy today.” Rabia plans to continue working with HIMSS and the HIMSS Foundation, as “they are both integral organizations promoting quality of care through health IT.”