LeOndra Clark Harvey, PhD, 2010 Fellow. Present job: Policy Consultant, Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, California State Senate. “The LKSJF helped introduce me to the world of health policy. I was interested in policy and this experience helped to solidify my interest and served as an opportunity to get my feet wet. I enjoyed learning about the ACA, and writing fact sheets and a letter on mental health bills I was interested in. I learned how I could use my prior education and experience to have an impact on the policy making process.”
Keely Monroe, JD. 2010 Fellow. Present Job: Director of Campus and Community Programs, Law Students for Reproductive Justice. “It was great to be part of learning about the ACA in 2010, and learn about policy advocacy. Through the Center’s contacts, my next position was with a key policy shop in D.C. – a great route to my present job.”
Gabriella Wong, MPH (on the left, with Tina Liu), 2011 Fellow. Now: Researcher, UC Berkeley School of Public Health. “I want to pursue doctoral studies in health policy analysis. The Fellowship really gave me extensive understanding about health policy, and knowledge about advocating and reaching out. The Fellowhsip had an impact on my decision to pursue health policy analysis because I really enjoyed researching the Affordable Care Act policy and can see myself continuing this research. During the fellowship, we did a great amount of research to better understand the intricacies of the ACA. In 2011, there was lots of speculation, rumors, and mystery surrounding the implementation of the ACA. Ellen and Joe knew a lot about that, and encouraged us to analyze the ACA in depth. We did a mini-survey of the other non-profits in the vicinity because many of these individuals purchased their own health insurance and would be directly affected. After analyzing the results of the mini-survey, we were able to focus our research on key areas of concern – such as what the exchanges were, whether or not the ACA would actually be affordable, and the timeline for the ACA roll out. Tina and I prepared a presentation that focused on these issues and demystified many of the rumors about the ACA. I really enjoyed reading Ellen’s Huffington Post op-ed pieces, hearing her input on KPFA’s radio show with Kris Welch, and seeing Ellen’s ACA presentations. It was such a great experience to understand the full circle of policy analysis and education. Before the fellowship, I thought that policy analysis just consisted of breaking down complicated jargon, and maybe giving out a few pamphlets here and there. This fellowship really helped me better understand which policy issues concern people the most, and more importantly how to reach out and educate others about these policy concerns (Ellen really does the full marathon of policy analysis and advocacy!). And I really appreciated getting recommendations afterwards.”
Pooja Prasad, MD, Fellow, 2012. I am busy in my first year of medical school at the University of Rochester, and am enjoying it very much! T he Lisa Kernan Fellowship was a wonderful experience that I feel honored to be a part of. The Lisa Kernan Social Justice Fellowship introduced me to a an enriching and productive field that combines advocacy, research, education and policy analysis to effect positive change. I was already interested in medicine, but it did influence my desire to work in advocacy later on as a physician! I greatly appreciated the personal guidance I received in an endeavor that was new for me and recommend it to anyone interested in learning the skills necessary for advocacy work
Kirin Khan [no photo yet!], Fellow, 2012. Now: Research analyst at YouGov. “I think the research aspects were great – I regularly read and ‘broke down’ highly technical language: free trade agreements, public health treaties, all high level legalese. This was not only challenging, but also really interesting and necessary. It’s one thing to oppose an agreement, and it’s another to go directly into the language, say “this, this clause/wording right here is going to harm people in these very concrete ways” and then launch into that concrete impact analysis.
“I think the fellowship will be more influential when I am looking to start grad school – the intersection of free trade agreements and public health policy is fascinating to me, and I would have had no idea about any of it were it not for the program. I’m amazed at how much of the research has actually stuck with me – I can tell you things about NAFTA, the WTO, and the WHO, and tobacco control policy off the top of my head even today!
“You will learn about choosing your battles, picking your strongest advocates, taking losses in stride, and taking your successes with a grain of salt. The Center for Policy Analysis will challenge your perceptions of what being an activist looks like – and that’s a good thing. It’s not just protest signs and picket lines – you get to work with people who really have given their entire lives to enacting positive changes, to advocating for those with the greatest needs. It’s an amazing, intense, experience and one I cannot recommend enough.”
2013 Fellows: Gardenia Casillas, Sarah Michelsen, Colleen McCullough
I am studying abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil for my last semester as an undergraduate student.
The most valuable aspect of my experience was definitely my mentors. Ellen and Joe truly saw value in my ideas which encouraged me to complete my projects with much more enthusiasm knowing that I was supported. I always had stories to share about my professional and personal experience as a child of immigrants and Ellen and Joe where always eager to hear all of them. The second most valuable aspect of my experience was learning policy analysis and how to conduct policy research. I learned how policies are made, what a policy entails, how to read policy, but most importantly, how to UNDERSTAND policies to be able catch the flaws and advocate for change. The internship really demystified policy research and policy analysis. After the fellowship I definitely want to consider a joint medical program with a masters in public policy. I really LOVED policy an the idea of working at a population level to influence decisions affecting the health of the immigrant community.
I would definitely recommend the Lisa Kernan Social Justice Fellowship to others. The fellowship was developmental for me as a scholar and a person. I most definitely sharpened my research skills, broaden my understanding of policy analysis, and solidified my commitment to a career in health to address health disparities in the future. Thanks so much for this wonderful opportunity!
I am currently working as an administrative assistant at MDRC, a nonprofit social policy research organization, where in addition to my admin duties, I am able to work on, learn from and contribute to several of our projects projects across multiple policy areas. I am also a volunteer for ACCESS Women’s Health Justice in Oakland, and for SF WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend). As I write this, I realize how instrumental the Lisa Kernan Social Justice Fellowship experience was for me. My experiences there ignited my interest in public policy, leading me to pursue a job with a social policy research organization, and I was actually introduced to both of the organizations I volunteer with through two different events I attended in the course of the fellowship. My experiences there have also greatly influenced my thoughts on grad school – law and/or public policy are the programs I am most likely to pursue at this point, in great part thanks to this fellowship.
I also loved poring over portions of the ACA – I previously had never spent much time reading legislation, but its a process I found truly fascinating, and powerful. My experiences doing that for the LKSJ Fellowship, while brief, were enough to spark a true professional interest in policy analysis. I also loved that we would get out from behind the desks and go participate in community events and demonstrations as well.
The Lisa Kernan Social Justice Fellowship was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Whether I was analyzing the Affordable Care Act, demonstrating in the streets of San Francisco for reproductive justice, or sitting in on ACA briefings in Nancy Pelosi’s SF office, I felt engaged, excited and enthusiastic. I was always learning and had several opportunities to network with amazing people and organizations. Apply!