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Reflecting on my work this summer, I’ve realized how much this internship has helped me engage with my interests in health policy. As I mentioned in one of my first blog posts, I knew so little about health policy when I came to DC compared to what I know now (and I am by no means an expert). Not only have I had the opportunity to learn within specific areas of health policy that will influence my academic and professional career, but I also now understand what draws me to the specific fields of policy in which I am primarily interested—health policy and renewable energy policy.

What both of these fields have in common is that innovation will always be crucial to future work in each field. People will always need healthcare, and to provide better service at lower prices with the new emerging technologies will require innovation in both the development and application sides of health policy. Society also relies on energy to power our lives, and as we expand our energy needs and look to transfer to more sustainable sources of energy, our energy systems will require innovative solutions to develop efficient energy sources and transform our energy storage systems. Understanding this commonality about my interests will allow me to tailor my academic work throughout the next two years and professional interests going forward in a way that is most beneficial to me.

One of the many things I thoroughly enjoyed about my internship with the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy this summer was how my primary large project essentially became a research project on health policy for someone who doesn’t have a background in the hard sciences or clinical science. Not having the background, it may seem unlikely to have a project which allows the extensive amount of research which is enticing to me. However, I was able to thoroughly dive into how different health policy centers orient their communications strategies, and the analytics of science and health communication have become very interesting to me. As important as the actual research and clinical studies that people in the health policy do is, how organizations communicate that research to the public and to policy-makers less familiar with the science is also extremely important.

Another exciting aspect of my internship has been the real impacts I’ve seen thus far regarding my work at Duke-Margolis. Though my presentation on the academic health policy center landscape was my main deliverable for the summer, I’ve seen the real impact of other projects I’ve worked on over the past eight weeks. I helped compile the data and analysis for a blog post that will kick off a series of blog posts over the next year on an important project for the Value-Based Payment team at the Center. Also for that team I helped generate ideas and outline the communications strategy which will be pursued over the next year for that project. Seeing some of my ideas implemented as an intern has been awesome.