Rethinking Health Services Research

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Rethinking Health Services Research

My First AcademyHealth Conference as a Motivational Life Event

I recently was fortunate enough to attend the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before the conference I wasn’t fully aware of the wide breadth of expertise that could lead to one doing health services research! As I interacted with researchers, I didn’t anticipate meeting individuals with PhDs in Health Economics, Psychology, Information Science, Statistics, and Behavioral Economics conducting research alongside MDs. This introduction helped me understand the field’s interdisciplinary approach and how I could marry all of my interests as a future PhD student.

The AcademyHealth conference also allowed me to delve deeper into a field that directly impacts policy making. As someone who is passionate about public policy, it was exciting to hear from panelists who contributed to major pieces of legislation such as the Affordable Care Act. However, despite an interest in these topics, some of the panel discussions were still difficult to follow. This was due in part to the fact that the talks were often saturated with jargon and sophisticated health services vocabulary that I wasn’t familiar with.  Luckily, AcademyHealth hosted several research workshops for novices like me! I attended the ‘Qualitative Comparative Analysis’ lecture since I am currently assisting the Penn Netter Center with qualitative research. While I didn’t leave AcademyHealth an expert on all of the complicated topics covered, by the end I definitely felt better able to understand and follow discussions.  I am several decades behind the researchers in terms of education and experience but I still felt respected and welcome. I think it was an important trip and I can’t wait until it’s my turn to be a panelist!


2015 SUMR Scholar Kelly McClure is a rising senior at Cornell University majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations.