Summer Centered: Sarah Svetec ’19 Crunches Healthcare Numbers
The pre-med senior is interning with the Health Care Improvement Foundation, a Philadelphia medical nonprofit, this summer.
Like many rising seniors on the pre-med track at colleges across the country, Sarah Svetec ’19 wants to become a doctor. Unlike many, she plans to use her medical training to pick up on the bigger picture “when it comes to healthcare” along the way.
"[While I intend to] become a physician, I foresee myself incorporating public health or hospital administration in my career path as well,” the psychology major and health studies minor says. “Public health often takes into account larger forces that affect a patient's relationship with medicine, which I think are critical to consider and should be more integrated into medicine.”
Thanks to funding from the Whitehead Internship Program, which supports the summer work of rising juniors and seniors in the fields of entrepreneurship, financial services, venture capital, and investment services, Svetec is examining those forces in greater depth this summer. An intern for the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF), an independent Philadelphia nonprofit that aims to improve the quality, transparency, consistency, and affordability of healthcare, she’s exploring “various population-health and clinical-improvement topics.” Usually, this objective takes the form of numbers crunching.
"Most days I work as a research analyst on three projects,” Svetec says, listing them off. “The Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance [is a transparency initiative that] brings together hospitals, physicians, and health plans to improve quality of care and publicly report performance. CPR Ready is a campaign to significantly increase bystander CPR and cardiac arrest survival rates. And the Pennsylvania Urology Regional Collaborative is a quality improvement initiative that brings urology practices together in a physician-led, data-sharing, and improvement collaborative aimed at advancing the quality of diagnosis and care for men with prostate cancer.”
Though Svetec knows that a fulfilling long-term job for her “will require working closely with people,” she’s happy to oversee healthcare initiatives from her computer for now—and believes that experience with data analytics is an invaluable skill in of itself, and one that will work in her favor as she pursues a career in medicine.
"[I] hope to learn applications of data analytics in a healthcare context, as well as learning through direct experience how to most effectively present research findings,” says Svetec of her internship. “In any field, data analysis is essential to ensure quality and up-to-date practices, and the medical and healthcare fields are no exceptions.”
"Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.