Health Care Management & Policy Major Hopes to Advance Health Equity, Improve System

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February 18, 2021 – Nicole “Nikki” Feenstra (NHS’22) is a pre-med health care management & policy major. In the future, she hopes to advance health equity through a career in medicine.

Nicole “Nikki” Feenstra (NHS’22) poses in a jacket with a city street behind her.
Nicole “Nikki” Feenstra (NHS’22)

 “I wanted to pursue this major in order to delve deeper into the realities of health equity and the major issues surrounding our current system,” she says. “It is so important to know the intricacies of not only the science behind medicine, but the vast systems that facilitate it.”

Question: Where did you grow up, and how did you learn about Georgetown?

Feenstra: I’m from Florida and learned about Georgetown on a family trip to DC. I fell in love with the campus, the liveliness of the neighborhood, and the excitement of living in the capital. This prompted me to attend the Georgetown summer medical academy in high school, where I was able to live in the dorms and experience campus life firsthand. 

Question: What drew you to want to study in the health field?

Feenstra: In high school, I volunteered at my local hospital and found myself drawn to the compassion and drive that health care providers have. While I was volunteering in the hospital’s cancer unit, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and started coming into my unit for treatment. 

It gave the reality of health care a new perspective in my mind and brought a new purpose for my life. Coming from a family of immigrants with limited English, I found myself needing to accompany my grandmother to doctor’s appointments and hospital stays. I learned firsthand that there are so many barriers to receiving proper care involving literacy, age, race, and more. I now strive to become the next generation of healthcare providers that actively works to eliminate these barriers to quality care.

Question: How are you enjoying the HCMP major and Georgetown?

Feenstra: I absolutely love HCMP and how it intersects politics and health care, specifically with Georgetown’s robust political background in our nation’s capital. 

Specifically, I wanted to pursue this major in order to delve deeper into the realities of health equity and the major issues surrounding our current system. I have learned so much about topics that are rarely touched upon in other majors, including how our health care system works in the first place. It is so important to know the intricacies of not only the science behind medicine, but the vast systems that facilitate it.

Question: Tell us about the activities you are involved in at Georgetown.

Feenstra: Currently, I’m a research assistant at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities Research working on the development of culturally adapted interventions to enhance the use of genetic counseling services in Latina women and Black women at risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

I also have an on-campus job as an instructional technology aid for various Georgetown courses. 

Outside of academic-related activities, I’m a proud sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma, where I serve as the philanthropy chair. I’m also on Georgetown’s Latin dance team, Ritmo y Sabor! 

Question: What are your plans for the future?

Feenstra: In the future, I plan on attending medical school and becoming a physician that works to promote health equity, perhaps by specialization, a position in health administration, or volunteer work. 

My goal is unique in that I don’t want to just become a doctor and help patients, but I also want to contribute to a remedy for our health care system and assist the population as a whole. 

Specifically, I am interested in women’s health because I can address the stigma, misinformation, and lack of research that has historically plagued this field.

By Bill Cessato