Kash Rajagopal, 2014, Woodrow Wilson School

This summer I worked with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in New Delhi, which serves as a think tank and advisory group to the Ministry of Health. Within the organization, I was part of the relatively new Immunization Technical Support Unit (ITSU), which focuses on vaccine supply chain logistics, and specifically on how technical deficiencies in the cold chain hamper routine immunization. My largest project required me to become the point-person on a novel modeling tool called HERMES, a discrete event simulator that can help model the effects of policy changes. Over the summer, I synthesized relevant literature, provided recommendations on means of collaboration, led communication with our partners, and later with a smaller team synchronized our data collection tool with the HERMES input parameters. Seeing our questionnaire finally implemented in Madhya Pradesh during a field visit in late August was especially rewarding. My work helped me understand how far-reaching decisions are significantly informed by nuanced, technical considerations. This experience helped me cultivate a better appreciation for the importance of streamlined management practices and field study in crafting policy. Unfortunately, our own health care system in America is remarkably inefficient; this might be a potential topic for my senior thesis.