A government executive recently asked me how I liked my project. I’m lucky to have a lot to be thankful for.
The focus of the project (health care policy development) is right up my alley. I’ve been interested in health policy for a number of years. What started with following debates and reform roll outs led to graduate school and a job at a health care research firm. In that role, I enjoyed reading about and breaking down policy changes, but I wanted to be closer to policy writing. I was excited to learn about ERPi and its work supporting policy development (and other functions) for the Veteran Health Administration (VHA). I joined the team in Spring 2019.
The work dives into details which is right up my alley! ERPi supports VHA’s efforts to implement a policy development process focused on transparency and accountability. It creates unambiguous policies that are aligned with VHA’s mission and can be implemented consistently across VHA’s many facilities. I’ve learned the ins and outs of VHA’s policy development process and standards, and apply them to my portfolio of policy assignments. This is by no means an individual effort: my peers and I work closely with each other and VHA’s editors, regulatory reviewers, and subject matter experts.
And the worth has breadth and exposes me to a range of health care policies. VA has a unique structure and function in health care. It both finances health care services through taxes and provides care through the largest health care system in the country. It serves Veterans across generations, with diverse military experiences and health care needs. My portfolio of policies has spanned service lines and functions with VHA, from rehabilitation care to medical ethics.
While all impressive reasons to me for liking a project, these were not what I first thought of when chatting with the VHA executive. My mind cut to my family. To my grandfather, who served in France during World War II. To my dad, who was in the Army for over 25 years. And to my brother, who is an active duty soldier currently based in Texas. The opportunity to give back in my own way to them and to others – people who have given so much of themselves – gives my work meaning. The VHA leader agreed that there is a palpable sense of mission within VHA. And it’s a pleasure to experience and contribute to it with my ERPi colleagues.