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VSSL Voices: Gaining Exposure to Health Systems Work During Residency

In this installment of our “VSSL Voices” series -- which features team members, friends, and supporters of the Lab -- we learned more about Dr. Kate Majzoub Perez, and Internal Medicine Resident at the University of Washington and current VSSL fellow.

VSSL Voices: How did you first get interested in health systems and/or care delivery work?

Kate Perez: My interest in health systems work was sparked when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010. At the time, I was completing a master’s degree in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School. I had considered a career in medicine prior to studying policy but I was deterred by physicians who warned me of the many challenges of working in a broken healthcare system. The ACA helped me to reframe those challenges as meaningful opportunities to engage with health systems design. The following year, I applied to medical school with the intention of pursuing a career focused on health systems design and clinical medicine.

VV: What things have you experienced in your training thus far that have either underscored or further developed your interests in health systems and/or care delivery work?

KP: I pursued my interest in health systems in medical school as a student member of the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care. My work with them included leading their Student Leadership Committee and visiting the innovative Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska.

As an internal medicine resident at the University of Washington, I’ve engaged with health systems work under the mentorship of VSSL founder Dr. Joshua Liao and by joining my residency’s Health Systems Pathway, led by Dr. Anders Chen. Dr. Liao and I are currently working on projects related to price transparency in healthcare and Medicare’s annual wellness visits, while the Health Systems Pathway introduced me to different types of careers in healthcare administration and allowed me to engage with a quality improvement project related to hypertension management.

VV: What are a few things you've gained out of your work with VSSL?

KP: Working with VSSL has been one of the highlights of my residency training. By spending time with VSSL’s senior investigators, I am learning how to ask relevant research questions, design appropriate methods to answer those questions, and present my findings in a publishable form. VSSL is also exposing me to important questions that surround value-based payment models.

I especially value VSSL’s role in bridging the space between health systems research and design, and the team’s commitment to asking questions that are directly relevant to health systems operations. Going forward, I hope to continue to develop my ability to work at this critical intersection of health systems research and design so that I can contribute practical insights about how to improve the value of the care that we provide to our patients.


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