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[Blog] International Experiences Provide Right Introduction to Population Health

Sometimes all it takes is one class to change your entire outlook.

I started my undergraduate work with every intention of becoming a physician until I started taking geography courses. From there, I was hooked on geography and my focus shifted to discovering how I could marry this newfound passion with my love for healthcare.

During an internship at Boston-based Partners in Health, I had the chance to apply my dual passions working for their geographic information systems (GIS) specialist. In that capacity, I created base maps of healthcare facilities in Haiti, Malawi, Rwanda, and other medically underserved countries with a goal of learning more about the populations, their habits, what services were necessary, and where they should be located.

In Malawi, for instance, we set out to discover why people in one region were traveling more than 15km over a mountain to receive services when another seemingly comparable facility was located less than 5km away. Although I didn’t know how to classify it at the time, this experience was my introduction to population health. I have been hooked ever since.

The work of discovering what people truly need in terms of medical services and customer care is what drove me to Stroudwater. We are an organization that truly values helping organizations do the right thing for the communities and populations they serve.

Since coming to Stroudwater, I have been able to put my skills to use on a broad base of projects. Through my work in our Affiliations, Strategy, and Rural practices, I’ve had the opportunity to piece together ways to tackle what may be coming in the new year. While no one can say for sure what a new administration will bring, we can safely agree that population health isn’t about to be undone – and I, for one, am excited about that.

Clare Kelley is a Consultant at Stroudwater. Contact her at 207-221-8267.

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