Studying effective integration
Used to pipettes, animal studies, cell cultures and chemicals all in the context of quantitative research, Anirudh found himself in a novel environment reading through scores of publications and conducting focus groups with healthcare professionals in a predominantly qualitative project.
In 2012, MIT Professor John Carroll and his grad student Wiljeana Glover were awarded a MISTI Global Seed Fund grant to examine how the Israeli government should transfer operations of government-funded mental health clinics to the four private Israeli HMOs in 2015. Due to this collaboration between MIT and Technion University, Anirudh was sent to Israel to assist in conducting focus group meetings to collect data on current healthcare operations in the largest Israeli HMO, Clalit Health Services. The team worked to identify how recent integrative measures in diabetes care could potentially be translated to the organizational changes that will be required for mental health reform.
As a BioE student, Anirudh found his internship came with a set of hurdles: “The biggest challenge was learning how healthcare teams function and learning how to communicate that,” he says. It was a vital experience he’ll only appreciate more now that he’s in medical school. “Having a global experience is really important when you move into a people-oriented career like medicine,” he believes. “My international experience exposed me to so many different ways of life, cultures, socioeconomic statuses, religions, and particularly beliefs in health.”
The research team he interned with is currently in the process of analyzing this data for a paper in the near future.
A part of a medical career
After his summer in Israel, Anirudh is grateful to have had the opportunity to explore the organizational aspect of healthcare delivery prior to beginning his medical studies at Johns Hopkins University. “It is very important to have diverse experiences, particularly in the medical field, where physicians often play multiple roles as healers, researchers and community leaders and advocates,” he says. Anirudh greatly appreciates the strong connections he made abroad by networking with leaders and researchers in Israel’s healthcare sector. His experiences from his summer at Technion motivate him to continue learning about healthcare organization and policy throughout medical school and beyond.
Anirudh’s time at Technion also gives him greater insight into patients. Now, training to be a doctor, he thinks of an interaction with an Arabic-speaking patient. “I had to work through a translator, which complicated things even further, in that much of our communications and original language are lost in the translation process. However, my experiences in Israel and travels to Jordan and Egypt gave me a strong foundation towards understanding, to an extent, the patient's lifestyles, behaviors, and health beliefs.”