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Student Perspectives

Viji Kannan

Viji KannanHometown

Athens, GA

Undergraduate Degree

Biology/Management Information Systems

Areas of Interest in your field

Politics & Health Policy / Lifestyle & Prevention / Built Environment & Neighborhood Effects / Medical Education / Public Opinion / Health-related Decision Making

Background/Profile

I received my undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA and my MSPH at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  I have recently started playing Ultimate Frisbee and I absolutely love it.

Why did you choose The University of Rochester?

I chose the University of Rochester because I was excited to work with Peter Veazie whose interest in patient and provider decision making matched my own.  I was also enticed by the focus our program has on using theory to make sense of health and healthcare phenomenon.

Tell us about your program

Our program is small and continually adapting to educational needs by implementing new courses.  We have a student led Academy Health chapter which allows students to get a broader sense of the field. On the narrative aspect of research, we emphasize understanding health and healthcare phenomenon by applying theory from any discipline (e.g. economics, psychology). On the analysis aspect of research, we emphasize developing our own programs if necessary to answer the question we want answered.

What are your career aspirations?

I would like to work at a think tank or consulting firm such as RAND or RTI.  But would also like to pursue a faculty position at a research institution in the future.

What are some of the things you have learned since you came to Rochester?

  • Using theory to explain phenomenon
  • Maximum likelihood estimation

Any advice for prospective students?

Start noticing what topics attract you as soon as you begin taking classes.  This will help with finding dissertation topics.  The faculty can provide guidance even if the topic is outside of their scope.

Jessica Orth

Jessica OrthHometown

Sleepy Eye, MN

Undergraduate Degree

Statistics

Areas of Interest in your field

Statistical applications and systems perspectives to HSR

Background/Profile

I joined the HSR & Policy PhD program in 2016. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Statistics from the University of Minnesota-Morris, a Master of Science degree in Statistics from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Public Health degree with a specialization in population health analytics from the University of North Dakota. I am continuing my education by studying health services research and policy in order to combine statistics and public health into health policy that effectively impacts the health of populations through the health care sector. ​

Why did you choose The University of Rochester?

For the exceptional quality of the HSR program and faculty

Tell us about your program

The HSR PhD program provides training in the identification of important health care issues as well as an emphasis on developing appropriate theory-based explanations and interventions.

What are your career aspirations?

I am still in the exploration stage, but could pursue an academic research position or employment in industry.

What are some of the things you have learned since you came to Rochester?

Try different routes to class in the medical center building; it just might be a quicker way to go.