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One class changes a student’s trajectory

A class in health and human rights led Sierra Somkin '22 to change from a pursuit of nursing to one of policy

January 9, 2022

Sierra Somkin ’22 thought her future was in nursing, but a health and human rights course taught by Stephen Inrig, PhD, made her pivot her plans and major in healthcare policy instead. “I realized my real passion for health care are the legislative and analysis aspects of it,” she says. “There are so many ways that policy affects the care people receive, and Dr. Inrig’s class opened my eyes to it. Looking at possible social determinants of health and what is contributing to a public health crisis needs more attention.” ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“I am gratified to play a role in introducing students to those skills that can help them flourish and enable them to seek the common good and well-being of all, particularly the most vulnerable.”           --Stephen Inrig, PhD, professor of healthcare administration and healthcare policy

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Originally thinking of becoming a nurse, Sierra Somkin '22 changed the direction of her future career from the clinical side to one focused on policy, thanks to one class taught by Stephen Inrig, PhD, whom she now considers a mentor
Originally thinking of becoming a nurse, Sierra Somkin '22 changed the direction of her future career from the clinical side to one focused on policy, thanks to one class taught by Stephen Inrig, PhD, whom she now considers a mentor

Inrig’s class combines policy analysis, historical analysis and research methods. During the course, Somkin analyzed the evolution of child separation policies before and during the Trump Administration. That research process cemented for her where her gifts and interests lie. “As a second-generation immigrant, I know that my mother experienced firsthand the great impact that these type of policies can have when she and her family would go to Mexico and then try to return to the U.S.,” says the student.

Somkin now plans to go to graduate school to further enrich her knowledge of health care policy. She is grateful to Inrig for his support and guidance, and looks forward to more opportunities to continue to learn from him. “It takes a particular type of person to major in healthcare policy. Sierra undertook the process of research and policy analysis in my class with aplomb,” says Inrig.

The University’s dedication to delivering exceptional education through interdisciplinary course offerings allowed Somkin to discover her real passion and call. “I took the class as part my major’s requirement and it has completely changed things for me. Now I’m very excited about where I’m headed.”

 

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