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Student Profile: Sreeja Kondeti, MPH ’22 (Health Policy)

December 02, 2021

Health Policy (HP)

Why did you choose the Yale School of Public Health?

YSPH does a fantastic job recruiting students with diverse backgrounds and interests. Every student I spoke with before making my decision was extremely passionate about a different subfield within the public health arena! I knew that by attending YSPH, I would not only be able to learn from professors who are experts in their field but also peers who would be coming into the program with much different life experiences and talents from me.

What were you doing before enrolling at YSPH?

I was working as a software engineer at UnitedHealth Group where I was building a clinical decision support platform that generates patient-specific advice for health care providers in real time. Also, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been involved in the formation of a grassroots nonprofit called Right to Health Action that focuses on lobbying elected officials for progressive health policies.

What are your favorite aspects of the YSPH academic program?

I’ve loved being able to cultivate relationships with professors and meeting with them to discuss their research alongside my interests and future career plans. Through such conversations, I was able to find a research position with Professors Reza Yaesoubi and Chima Ndumele within the Public Health Modeling Unit that aligns perfectly with my background in computer science and my passion for health policy. I’ve been creating a computer simulation model that estimates the causal impact of changing Medicaid Managed Care Organization network adequacy standards on preventable cardiovascular disease-related outcomes.

What was your most impactful experience outside of class?

During the Spring of 2021, I took the Health Policy Practicum course taught by Professor Shelley Geballe where I interned for Connecticut State Senator Matt Lesser. I got to sit in on committee meetings and conduct policy research on options for expanding Medicaid to undocumented immigrants in Connecticut with the goal of reducing uninsurance rates in this population. I was able to find an obscure legal loophole called the “unborn child option” that would allow low-income, undocumented women to access prenatal care under the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the work I did made its way into state law - House Bill No. 6687! This opportunity was especially meaningful as it taught me how to leverage my voice and skillset to get small, but not insignificant, wins in the fight for health justice.

Do you have a favorite Yale place or New Haven food?

There’s a small restaurant on State Street called Boiling SOHO that serves phenomenal Louisiana-style Cajun seafood. My roommate and I discovered it earlier this year and now we can’t get enough of it. It’s just something you would never expect to exist in Connecticut!

What do you hope to do after graduation?

I am hoping to have a career in (or adjacent to) government, at either the state or federal level, and work on public health insurance program innovation.

Submitted by Denise Meyer on December 03, 2021