Students Meet Health Policymakers on Capitol Hill

MARCH 26, 2013 - Undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Health Systems Administration traveled to Capitol Hill Friday to learn about health policy and legislation.

The students met with various Senate, House, White House, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services staff representatives, as well as other nationally recognized policy experts, to discuss the health policy process, health reform, implementing reform, new legislation, and careers in health policy.

“As a program, we are fortunate to be in D.C. and have strong relationships with prominent policymakers,” says Jason Ormsby, PhD, MHA, MBA, assistant professor of health systems administration, who planned the experience.

Many of the speakers were responsible for designing, and now implementing, the Affordable Care Act, he says.

“For me, the Capitol Hill trip was one of the most educational and eye-opening professional development events I have attended at Georgetown,” Yang Zhao (G'14) says.

From the Classroom to the Hill

Speakers discussed a variety of topics, including why they entered the health policy field, advice on career directions, and how policy is made on Capitol Hill.

“MHSA's visit to Capitol Hill is an event I had been eagerly anticipating since I first heard about it last semester,” says Aaron Polacek (G'14). “It allowed us to interact with qualified and influential national health policy professionals. They spoke to us on a personal level about their career paths, areas of expertise, and involvement in policy formulation.”

Real-World Legislation

The trip helped students to relate classroom discussions on health policy to real-world health legislation. Students were able to see how the policies and legislation they discussed in class were created.

“It was an amazing opportunity that we all felt really grateful to be included in,” Elizabeth Kelly (NHS’15), a health care management & policy major, says.

For some the trip provided a new interest in health policy. For others, it reinforced their desire to pursue this career path.

“What stood out most prominently were their individual accounts of being involved in legislation and creative advice to enhance the population's ACA knowledge,” Polacek added. “As a student looking to enter a career in health policy, this visit solidified my interest in the field.”

By Tiffani Haynes