Ms. Shivani Goswami from the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health MHA program has been named as the 2017 Barbara Starfield Medical Scholar by the American Public Health Association (APHA).
[Photo: Ms. Shivani Goswami]
As a future healthcare leader selected for this national honor, she will be involved in planning and assisting with Medical Section activities for the November APHA Annual Conference in Atlanta.
Ms. Goswami said she became inspired toward healthcare management and equity seven years ago, while interning as a clinical language assistant with autistic patients at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta.
During this internship, she met a 9-year-old girl named Sarah.
Sarah suffered from complicated speech and motor impairments that intensified when she became nervous or excited.
“The person that I connected with was not a child labeled as autistic but a bright-eyed young girl with a contagious smile, individual in her own way,” Ms. Goswami said.
The experience with Sarah and other children like her led Ms. Goswami to want to learn more about the healthcare delivery system in order to help improve it in the future.
“I wanted to have impact on what I saw as a very complex system with intricacies that sometimes lose sight of the fact that healthcare delivery is really about caring for people, and in this case, the children,” she said.
“As an intern, I was very limited in my capacity to help Sarah. It was a wonderful feeling to connect with her and make her laugh, but still needing knowledge and training, I couldn’t alleviate her complications or guide her health in the future,” she said.
“As I watched this child fight through challenges every day, I found myself drawn toward graduate studies in health administration, where I could develop as a leader and use my experience to manage and enhance the quality of healthcare programs in the future.”
On course now to complete her MHA in May 2018, Ms. Goswami co-established and currently serves as COO for a non-profit regional organization called Health Connect South. The organization, based in Georgia, builds collaborations among health leaders and innovators in the field to advance healthcare in the Southeast.
“Caring for a patient really involves an interdisciplinary focus and a values-based approach,” she said. “With a team of health professionals working together to cover every aspect of a patient’s needs, so much more can be addressed than when one person alone tries to make a difference.”