Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

George Washington University Cancer Institute

Summer 2016 

Position: Cancer Policy Intern
Student: Plan II Senior

This summer I had the incredible opportunity to intern with the George Washington University Cancer Institute in Washington D.C. The GW Cancer Institute is housed within the GW Medical School and is the policy-focused institution of the larger cancer treatment center. The Cancer Institute is fairly small but does a lot of important work in providing patient-centered support, survivorship programs, and catalyzing efforts and research to reduce cancer health disparities. The Washington D.C. area faces a lot of unique problems because despite being a well-populated urban center many of its inhabitants do not receive adequate access to screenings, prevention programs, and treatments.

My specific project was focused on cataloguing access to cancer care on a national level and trying to see not only how DC policies differ from other states but also which policies can be implemented institutionally to mitigate disparities.  This project arose from the recent development that the GW cancer hospital is going to begin accepting Medicaid insurance to cover the cost of treatment. The institute is beginning to develop policies to roll out this change. My project explored numerous topics and tried to answer questions such as “What policies contribute to states with high or low provider participation rates” and “How do Medicaid FFS and MCO provider participation rates vary by state?” I also looked to analyze the state of oncology care in states which have opted to expand Medicaid and how this expansion has improved access to care.

My internship was a bit unique as I was worked from a remote site due to the office moving locations but, overall, it was an incredible opportunity to learn more about analyzing health policy as well as the process of creating policy on an institutional or hospital-wide level.

I cannot state enough how impactful this internship was on my own personal and professional development. My policy experience in the past had been limited to legislative work and I left that internship appreciating the experience but knowing that I never wanted to work in that type of environment again. This internship, however, demonstrated how very different policy work is in an institution or more specifically, a hospital. The work I was doing had a very real and direct impact because the recommendations and analysis I created would affect the way the hospital’s new Medicaid policy would be rolled out. As a future medical professional, I really enjoyed this hospital policy environment much more because all of the work was completely focused on patients and patient care.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508