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Health Management and Policy Fall 2020 Updates


In the Health Management & Policy end-of-the-year newsletter we take a look at CPHSJ alumni, graduates, faculty and staff are on the move and making an impact in the healthcare arena.

HMP Alum Likhita Kalla Advances Career            

For Likhita Kalla (HMP 2018), the goal has always been to learn as much as possible, for as long as possible. 

That drive for knowledge is now being put into practical and tangible use in her new role as Strategy Management Consultant at Yale Health System Office of Strategy Management (OSM). 

After graduating from SLU, where she also minored in public health and healthcare ethics and became a Martin Luther King Scholar she immediately enrolled in the Johns Hopkins MHA program. 

Kalla aligned her choices with her value of learning through doing and discovered her passion for care strategy after completing her second-year residency at the Johns Hopkins Office of Healthcare Transformation and Strategic Planning. 

“I knew that I wanted to get my masters right after undergrad because I recognize that in order for one to make a deliberate and positive impact in the ever-evolving healthcare and care management industries, you need to commit to continuous learning,” Kalla said. 

After publishing a paper on improving mental health care for Asian Americans that included a theoretical framework, Kalla was awarded the John P. Young Memorial Fund award while at Johns Hopkins. 

Kalla has also developed and provisionally patented a fashion-forward “pendant-shaped healthcare monitoring device for young women” that she hopes to make “an effective and valuable addition to care innovation.” She continues to work on this project, inspired by her work at Yale.

“Wherever I am in five years, I hope to be well-versed in the different capacities and competencies of health management and to be in a position to help lead care transformation. I hope to have had my designs from my provisional patent actualized, and I want to continue applying myself through innovation,” Kalla said. “I will certainly still be in the pursuit of continuous learning and building competencies that will bring me closer to becoming a well-rounded and compassionate care leader.” 

She draws on her experiences growing up in Southern India, and being a female minority in medicine as her inspirations to help work toward equitable and accessible care for all.

“I would like to sincerely thank the SLU HMP program for helping set the foundation for me to build my passion for care management and advancement. To the professors, the counselors, and my peers--I owe it all of you. I will continue working hard to make a tangible and positive impact in care management and make the SLU HMP program proud,” Kalla said.

MPH Student Dives Into COVID-19 Data

Andrea Hoppert spent her summer diving into data and public health policy for the St. Charles Department of Public Health as an administrative intern. 

While there, Hoppert was able to see firsthand the effects of COVID19 on the St. Charles community through her work. 

“I had to do research on any topic that [my director] asked. It was a lot of research. One of the biggest jobs that I had was managing the death data for people in St. Charles County who had died from COVID,” Hoppert said. 

Hoppert carefully studied patient records, making note of demographic information and living situation, among other things. All of this data got sent to the department website, the media, and to the County government.

“I didn’t realize how public health goes in every arena, especially policy. If you want to help people [policy] is where you can impact the most,” Hoppert said. 

HMP Doctoral Student is on a Mission

Health Management and Policy doctoral student Andrew Oberle’s life mission is to assist individuals on their journey from surviving to thriving. 

His experience as a catastrophically injured patient has led him to a career as a healthcare researcher, giving him unique insight into improving care for trauma patients across the continuum. 

Oberle’s research interests center around developing and evaluating programs and policies that aim to improve care for and health of trauma survivors, and reducing the burden of trauma on populations to create healthier, safer, and more equitable communities.

His current projects explore how emotional support and mental health care influence trauma survivor resilience and other outcomes, including PTSD, pain, and patient experience. 

Oberle’s research projects have led to his development and implementation of an experimental pilot program. The program uses peer patient support and other complementary therapies to aid psychosocial rehabilitation during acute care and positively impact post traumatic growth. 

He is also leading the development and implementation of a pilot project that uses narrative medicine to support gun violence survivors. Oberle’s goal is to see if a narrative medicine approach to addressing trauma helps victims of gun violence on a health outcomes level, while also reducing the prevalence of retaliation in communities disproportionately affected by violence.

MHA Collaborative Research Blockchain

The College for Public Health & Social Justice’s Dr. Mark Gaynor and a group of SLU alumni are leading a study on the ‘Adoption of Blockchain in Health Care’ in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

What started as an independent study became an elaborate collaboration with Dr. Gaynor, Arti Patel, Jessica Parker and Clare Tang. According to the study, Blockchain Technology is “a distributed database that records and store transaction records,” and the team concludes that blockchain has some real potential in healthcare, but that it will need to be adapted to be optimally utilized in this industry.  

The study also aims to point out an overview of health care problems that can be solved by Blockchain-based technology and innovative solutions.

MHA Student Interns at Veteran's Home Care

Victoria Ash has always had a passion for working with the elderly. 

The second-year MHA student was able to channel that passion through her internship with Veteran’s Home Care-St. Louis. Veteran’s Home Care-St. Louis works to support veterans and their spouses, and to arrange care for them so that they can stay in their own homes under the VA “Aid and Attendance” benefit. 

The program assists with applications, provides home care workers, and oversees care to ensure that it is of good quality. 

“I was drawn to the mission of the organization, and the passion of the leaders to help the veterans and their spouses receive the assistance they need,” Ash said.

During the internship itself, Ash worked as a data analyst focused on updating the CRM database, monitoring their KPI dashboards and other marketing duties. 

Her MHA training, as well as her existing MBA, also helped Ash find success during her internship. 

“This summer allowed me to not only utilize my MBA and MHA skills, but work with the population that is near and dear to my heart. Social Justice is important to me because I am passionate about health care equality and serving vulnerable populations,” Ash said. “I believe my work with Veterans Home Care enhances the organization's ability to provide Veterans with more opportunities by connecting them with funding, additional resources, and care opportunities they need and deserve."

Networking, Education, and Outreach

The Future Leaders in Health Management and Policy club (FLHMP) is focused on the development of students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Health Management and Policy, but others interested in the discipline are welcome as well. 

FLHMP offers networking, education, and outreach opportunities specific to the interests of Health Management and Policy students. Members of the club forge connections with other undergraduate students and faculty within the discipline as the organization promotes interacting and engaging with current healthcare topics. 

Students are encouraged to consider the numerous possibilities that are present to those interested in Health Management and Policy. FLHMP has successfully hosted several on-campus events, including resume reviews and speakers from the field.

While FLHMP has moved meetings to a virtual setting this year, the goals of the organization remain unchanged. In the upcoming year, FLHMP plans to continue its membership growth and to provide resources for current Health Management and Policy students. FLHMP also intends to grow its relationship with the Health Management and Policy undergraduate program and the College for Public Health and Social Justice. 

College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind, studying social, environmental and physical influences that together determine the health and well-being of people and communities. It also is the only accredited school or college of public health among nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

Guided by a mission of social justice and focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the College offers nationally recognized programs in public health, social work, health administration, applied behavior analysis, and criminology and criminal justice.