Kristen Garrity - New York
Internship location: New York, N.Y.
Career goal: To be involved in improving the U.S. health care system because the health of future populations greatly depends on innovative solutions that modify the current rules and processes
My largest project focused on small businesses in New York City and health insurance. I developed two one-page fact sheets which can be downloaded from the NYC Health Insurance Link website and will be distributed by the Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access (OCHIA) staff at outreach events. I also tracked state health insurance trends and used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to identify characteristics of businesses in New York City. In addition, I summarized articles and proposed rules that were released this summer regarding the role of small businesses in the health insurance exchanges, which are expected to be functioning by January 2014.
Value of experience:
My summer internship at OCHIA, which is part of New York City’s Human Resources Administration, gave me a much better understanding of how city government works and, specifically, how the work done by one small, yet ambitious, office within a city agency can impact policy on a state and even federal level. The variety of projects I worked on allowed me to improve my critical thinking, writing and research skills. I also directly witnessed the implementation of health care reform.
I had the opportunity to present my summary and analysis of one of the more controversial reports regarding the effect health care reform may have on employer-sponsored health insurance directly to the commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration, who had inquired about the report’s potential implications in the city.
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At my desk on the 19th floor of the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) building. Because OCHIA only has about 11 staff members (not including the seven summer interns), there are many other departments on the floor with us.
Our cubicles were set up in an innovative way. We each had our own desk in one corner of a square, which allowed us to work together quickly by simply turning into the center of the square.
The HRA building is located in the Financial District in downtown Manhattan.
OCHIA's mission is to expand health insurance access to all New Yorkers. It primarily focuses on individuals and small businesses. An office poster was created to inform the target audience about our website.
The interns were invited the join other OCHIA staff at a “Child Health Now!” meeting. There were many other advocate groups, government agencies and health insurance organizations represented at the meeting, including: the Children’s Defense Fund, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, the Medicaid Redesign Team and the Citizens Committee for Children.
NYC Health Insurance Link is a web-based tool developed and maintained by OCHIA. Its goal is to help New Yorkers find a health insurance plan that best fits their health care needs and budgets.
Some of the OCHIA interns and staff had the opportunity to go to City Hall to learn about marriage equality in the state. We learned about the timeline of events and implications that marriage equality could have on coverage of dependents.
City Hall in New York City.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg invited all summer interns working in city government to Gracie Mansion for the annual summer barbecue. This was the display at the entrance to the mansion’s backyard.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke for a few minutes at the barbecue and expressed his thanks to the interns for all the work they did in the city.
Our office was also invited to the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender summer barbecue at Gracie Mansion. It was one week before the state’s gay marriage law passed.
For our OCHIA “Fun Day,” we took the ferry to Governor’s Island where we took a tour from a park ranger, walked around and rented bikes.
The four Policy Analysis & Research interns at the summer intern barbecue held at Gracie Mansion.
Quite a few Yale School of Public Health students were in New York City for the summer and we all got together after work.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art featured an Alexander McQueen exhibit. It was a retrospective on the work of the British designer, who committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 40.
The Cloisters, a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art located in northern Manhattan, is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.
The view of the Financial District from Governor's Island.
From the rooftop of the Empire Hotel we watched the sunset on July 4th, right before the fireworks.