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Fellows Highlight Service & Leadership Experiences

Anisha Hegde – Roosevelt@UGA Executive Director; Roosevelt Institute Campus Network Healthcare Senior Fellow; SGA; Butterfly Dreams Farm; Athens-Clarke County Mentor Program; Genetic Alliance; Cachamsi; CFHI; Jain Foundation; El Hogar Temporal

Over the past four years, the Foundation Fellowship has enabled me go beyond the classroom, learning from diverse communities and joining in with them as they pursue betterment and equity. Locally, I have mentored a grade school student through the Clarke County Mentor Program. My mentee and I have spent countless hours reading out loud to one another, playing outside, and talking about our dreams and goals. Over the years, I have also become close to her family, who has shared with me the difficulties faced by immigrant families. I have also volunteered at Butterfly Dreams Farms, helping out with therapeutic horseback riding lessons for children with developmental disabilities.

Foundation Fellow Anisha Hegde volunteering in a clinic

Witnessing the persistence of my mentee’s family and the children at Butterfly Dreams in the face of systemic obstacles encouraged me to deepen my involvement with the Roosevelt Institute at UGA, a nonpartisan policy organization. Student leaders and faculty mentors in the organization patiently guided me through the policy writing process as I sought to improve preventive pediatrics access in Athens.

I applied these skills while interning for Genetic Alliance in Washington, DC and serving as Executive Director for Roosevelt at UGA and Healthcare Senior Fellow for the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network. I collaborated on a clearinghouse for prenatal testing, mentored students keen on learning about policy and organized conferences and forums to bring together change agents in our communities. In these roles, I saw the energy and commitment that my generation brings to leveraging local narratives on issues ranging from newborn health to government responsibility to create national impact.

The Fellowship has not only encouraged me to be present where my feet are locally and nationally but also contributed to funding my international travels. I changed diapers, cooked meals, and taught science lessons at a temporary home while taking intensive Spanish classes in Guatemala. I provided translation from Marathi to English while learning about genetic testing in India. I organized health fairs while shadowing doctors in Ecuador. Simultaneously applying my current skill sets and exploring career options for the future, I have met people tirelessly carrying out good works in resource-poor settings. These encounters have convinced me to seek a medical education in order to more fully partner in their efforts, investing in the wellbeing of individuals as a vehicle to assuring them of their intrinsic value.

Smitha Ganeshan – Roosevelt@UGA Director of Health and Environmental Center; Roosevelt Scholars TA; Athens Nurses Clinic; Athens Health Network; Hospital Regional de Loreto; World Health Organization; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; dept. of Health and Human Services

The University of Georgia and the Foundation Fellowship have taught me to contribute meaningfully as a member of local, national, and international communities. Learning and serving in Athens-Clarke County – a microcosm of the broader health disparities and policy failures seen across the United States – has helped me understand the nuances of our health industry and the various issues that contribute to high healthcare costs and poor health outcomes. From working in a free clinic for uninsured patients in Athens to interning for the World Health Organization in India, I have explored my interests at the nexus of health policy, medicine, and public health and given back in a sustainable way.

Foundation Fellow Smitha Ganeshan interning at the Greater New York Hospital Association

At UGA, I’ve had the freedom to implement my ideas to strengthen our community. To improve healthcare for uninsured patients in Athens, I developed a policy proposal through the Roosevelt Institute, a student-run public policy think tank, calling for the Athens-Clarke County unified government to submit an application for a population-based health professional shortage area (HPSA) designation, which identifies communities around the country with severe healthcare access issues and unlocks millions of federal dollars to augment primary care services.

I collected the necessary data and drafted an HPSA application on behalf of the city. The designation would help pave the way toward a robust local health system, but it will not restructure the framework of our country’s health system. I am eager to pursue technical training to develop solutions on a wider scale.

Apart from pursuing policy research through the Roosevelt Institute, I have served as the organization’s director of the Health and Environmental Policy Center, conference organizer for our national conference Bridging the Gap, and teaching assistant for the Roosevelt Institute Scholars Course, a three-hour research intensive in which students conduct policy research for Honors credit. I introduced students to the world of policy development and formed relationships with some of the most intelligent and hardworking students at UGA as they tackled issues ranging from sex trafficking to the education achievement gap in Athens.

Over the past four years, I have delved into the world of sustainable policy development on campus, in Athens, and around the world. This semester as an intern at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and this summer as an intern in the Office of Health Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services, I have the opportunity to apply what I have learned to bridge the gap between research and implementation. Moving forward in my personal and professional life, I will carry the spirit of service and civic engagement that this

 

 

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