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Tonia Wu

tonia wu
Public Health
Graduation Year:
Spring 2018
BDP Certificate:
Ethics & Leadership
“This has challenged me to educate and improve my ability to work in health policy, which is more than what I could have gained solely from academics.”

Tonia Wu, pursuing the Ethics & Leadership in Health Care BDP, served as a health policy intern at the Alliance for Health Reform, a non-partisan organization in Washington, D.C. focused on analyzing the policy implications of health care reform law at the federal and state level.

How did you find your internship?
I was accepted as an Archer Fellow for the spring 2017 semester, which allowed me the opportunity to intern full time in Washington, DC. I was interested in health policy advocacy and reform, and the Alliance for Health Reform has developed a dependable and well-connected non-partisan platform.

Describe the work you did in your internship.
As a health policy intern for the Alliance for Health Reform, I perform policy research and analysis on federal legislation regarding Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, private insurance, and social determinants of health. I have assisted in the preparation and execution of multiple briefings on Capitol Hill hosted by the Alliance, and this experience has given me first hand exposure on how legislation and reform happens on a federal level.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
The most rewarding part of my internship has been the interaction that I have had with health policy experts and Congressional staffers. The amount of expertise and attention that is dedicated to health policy is immense, and it is surreal to be surrounded by it and to be expected to perform at that level. This has challenged me to educate and improve my ability to work in health policy, which is more than what I could have gained solely from academics.

In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
I came to Washington, DC, undecided about my plans for graduate school and career choice. I have been pre-med since freshman year, but being here in the eye of the storm during such a tempestuous time of health care reform has altered my decision. I have decided to pursue graduate school in health policy and to work my way upwards in the world of federal health policy.

Discuss the relationship you had with your faculty mentor and how they helped you during this Connecting Experience.
Dr. Joel Swerdlow has been encouraging and realistic about how to operate and succeed in Washington, DC. I owe his expertise a lot during my time here.