WWS Blog

Why I Came to the Woo

Dec 10, 2014
Published by:
Sara Bencic, MPA '16

I came to the Woo to strengthen my quantitative skills and to gain greater experience in health policy. After working for three years, I knew these were the skills I needed to advance my career.

After college, I worked for a year at the Pew Charitable Trusts, addressing issues from unemployment insurance to federal tax and spending policy. I often worked with Bureau of Labor Statistics data in STATA – statistical computer software – to examine trends in long-term unemployment. However, I was never able to write my own code from scratch. This is something I’ll learn to do as part of the rigorous training offered at the Woo.

I also came to the Woo to pursue more formal training and coursework in health policy. My second job was at the Brookings Institution’s Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, where I worked on Medicare, Medicaid and insurance coverage reforms. There, I gained a basic understanding of many areas of health policy, but never learned some of the key parts of health policy like health economics or epidemiology. I hope to take these classes at the Woo to help me better understand the implementation of public health programs and policies and how to make them effective for the populations that they serve, particularly for Medicaid participants.

At the Woo, I’ll have the opportunity to explore domestic policy issues in depth. The coursework at the Woo emphasizes analytical tools and seeks to apply them to real policy situations by working with clients during our second-year policy workshop. In addition to the analytical rigor, participating in an MPA program will strengthen my leadership and management skills, enabling me to implement and evaluate effectively federal and state health policies.

While my professional experience has provided me with foundational policy analysis skills, the Woo will help me develop stronger quantitative and analytical tools and greater context for federal-state health policy analysis


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