Senior International Health Major Researches Health Insurance in Ghana

NOVEMBER 9, 2015 – Emma Boone (NHS’16), a senior international health major at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, is interning this semester at the Dodowa Health Research Center (DHRC) in Ghana.

The internship, a part of the Department of International Health’s practical experience abroad program for seniors, is allowing Boone to focus on Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme, specifically conducting an assessment of the scheme’s operations in the two districts.

“Health systems strengthening, particularly health financing, is my primary interest so it’s a really exciting area for me to be working in,” she says. “In addition to working on our research projects, we’ve been able to participate in some of the community-outreach programs being conducted by the district health administration, which has been an awesome opportunity to engage directly with the health system.”

Experiential Learning

Boone says she has really enjoyed the international health major. “International health has been the perfect program for me,” she says. “I’ve discovered the issues that I’m most passionate about, and I’ve gained the skill sets necessary to go out and tackle these issues once I leave Georgetown.”

During the summer after her sophomore year, Boone worked in Kenya for a non-profit called Kenya Connect, which, she says, “. . . does amazing work to strengthen the education system in the small village of Wamunyu.”

The organization provides professional development programs to teachers, offers model lesson plans, and works to implement strategies to promote reading.

“It was an amazing hands-on experience with many of the infrastructural and systemic issues that previously I had only encountered in a classroom or textbook,” she says.

Catholic Charities

In addition, Boone last spring interned with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., working with two different programs, specifically the Refugee Center and the Health Care Network.

“At the Refugee Center, I was directly interacting with clients—helping newly arrived immigrants write resumes, cover letters, and job applications,” she says. “At the Health Care Network, I got more insight about what it’s like to manage a non-profit, especially how to build and maintain the kind of strategic partnerships necessary to help your program succeed.”

She compiled demographic data on clients, working to develop new primary care partnerships and advocate for programmatic funding, and she conducted a survey of current partner clinics on their experiences working with Catholic Charities’ clients.

Outstanding Achievement

For her academic and extracurricular work, Boone earned an award for Outstanding Student Achievement at Georgetown University Medical Center’s eighth annual Convocation earlier this month.

“All the experiences I’ve had at Georgetown and in the International Health Program have been really formative for my ideas about what I want to do after graduation,” says Boone, who hopes to “. . . pursue a career in global health and development and be part of the incredible group of young leaders like my classmates advancing health equity.”  

By Bill Cessato

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