Introducing the Digital Communications Intern

Sumire Maki is the Digital Communications Intern at the Lown Institute this summer. She is an undergraduate at Northeastern University, studying Environmental Policy and Public Health.  

In the doctor’s office, I am typically situated between my mother and the physician, translating her conditions to the doctor and relaying the doctor’s instructions back to my mother. As I sit in between what is clearly an awkward dynamic for us all, I am faced with the question of, “Why?”

Why does a child from the age of nine have to take on such responsibilities for her family to be healthy? Why does the sibling of an individual with developmental disabilities carry on so much weight in preparing for their future? Why is it that frustration seems to be the predominant emotion I feel when thinking about my health?

These questions drive me as a person and a student to better understand the complexities behind the health care system. Through academia, I found a framework and language to guide my understanding, studying areas of public health such as health literacy, disability access, and economic empowerment of underserved communities. In my experience interning at the Sibley Innovation Hub, I learned how innovation and design can be transformative in the health care system.

Too often, the answer to “Why” is often that someone in power said, “Because.” This is why I found that understanding the system was not enough; I hoped and wanted to challenge the system entirely.

I look forward to pushing back against our unequal, inefficient health care system at the Lown Institute this summer.