Roland Dimaya, MPH '11

Vientiane and surrounding provinces, Laos; Manila and Batac City, Philippines

Before I left for Southeast Asia, I knew that I would experience the intersection between health policy theories that I learned about in the classroom and real-life applications. What I walked away with, though, was a comprehensive appreciation for the policy development process and the complexities of implementation. In June, I joined Dr. Pia Britto of the Yale School of Medicine on a UNICEF-sponsored project assessing health and education programs for children in Laos. I encountered the full scope of policy stakeholders, from administrators in the central government to provincial health workers, village chiefs and mothers. In this rich cultural setting, I found myself deeply entrenched in the cultural environment and I saw firsthand how such traditions effect health care provision. During July and August, I pursued research project supported by the Wilbur G. Downs International Health Travel Fellowship in the Philippines. Seeking to characterize the country’s policy response to nurse migration, I interviewed government and private-sector administrators and held focus groups with Filipino nurses from urban and provincial settings. Utilizing the skills I developed during coursework on policy and research at YSPH, I was able to conceptualize important policy points and understand how the Philippines, as a leader in global labor migration, is seeking to balance its economy with its health care. I value the experiences I had abroad and they have enriched what I learned in the classroom. But more importantly, I value the realization of my own skills and abilities as a young health care professional immersed in the field.