Health Policy and Administration Student Accepted to Kaiser Foundation Scholars Program

May 15, 2009

Sharita R. Thomas, a Health Policy and Administration student, is taking part in the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program this summer in Washington, D.C. Established by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation in partnership with Howard University, the scholars program places college seniors and recent graduates in congressional offices, where they focus their work on health policies issues affecting racial and ethnic minorities and underserved communities.

image of Sharita Thomas

“Through the nine-week program, scholars gain knowledge about federal legislative procedure and health policy issues, while further developing their critical thinking and leadership skills. In addition to gaining experience in a congressional office, scholars participate in seminars and site visits to augment their knowledge of health care,” the Kaiser Foundation Web site explains.

Thomas is among thirteen scholars who were chosen from a pool of 700 applicants. She is the first Penn State student to be accepted into the program. Starting May 18, she will work in the office of U.S. Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen, a delegate of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Thomas explained that she has witnessed family and community members who have struggled to live without adequate health care. “The opportunity will give me hands-on experience on how policy and health come together. One of my goals in my career is to have some sort of effect on narrowing health disparities,” she says.

The Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program honors the legacy of former U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.

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Editors: For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or healthhd@psu.edu.