Daniella Pena

Cornell University, Class of 2022

Major: Health Care Policy

Minor: Inequality Studies

Daniella Pena is majoring in Health Care Policy and minoring in Inequality Studies with a focus on health equity at Cornell University. After graduation, Pena plans on obtaining additional degrees in health policy and economics. She plans on using this training to create a single payer health care system in the U.S. as a means to ensure health care access to everyone and reduce health disparities in marginalized populations. 

Pena worked on two SUMR research projects. With Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBE and Sage Gustafson, she researched the widespread use of pre-approval COVID-19 plasma during the pandemic and how this may have interfered with clinical trials needed to approve this therapy. Pena also worked with Anna Jo Smith, MD, MPH on a project examining how prior authorization may be exacerbating racial and income disparities in women with ovarian cancer. This research shed light on the repercussions of these health insurance practices that delay treatment. It also informed policy reform towards more equitable gynecological oncology care. 

At Cornell, Pena is a research assistant with the American Economics Association and a Nutrition Data Specialist with Cornell Dining. Pena also serves on the Policy Analysis and Management (PAM) student undergraduate advisory council. A fellow of the Cornell Tradition program, Pena has done a lot of community service throughout her time at Cornell, and also acts as a peer mentor for undergraduate students. She is also an Institute of Politics and Global Affairs scholar and a member of the Women in Healthcare Leadership organization. In her free time, Daniella enjoys reading for pleasure, running, and baking. 

Presentation Slides

  • Miles Meline and Daniella Pena: Clinical Trial Capacity at Sites Participating in the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program
  • Video