Niki Cozzolino is a Dartmouth Master of Public Health Candidate, graduating in June 2018. She has a background in health science from the University of Miami. She is joining the Lown Institute team this spring to lend her knowledge and skills to the Polypharmacy project, planning for the Lown Conference, and general communications.
Here are her thoughts on finishing her masters, starting the internship, and continuing her journey toward a career in medicine:
Dr. Cozzolino. What does this name represent? To my family, it represents uncles, fathers, and brothers; but to me, it represents my hopes for the future. A successful physician is a well-rounded one, one that must have the ability to understand and act on all areas of a patient’s health. Health is not solely based on the genetics and pathogens of which a patient is exposed, but a combination of societal influences that can alter a patient’s exposure to high-risk health behaviors, access to care, and mistrust in the health care system. Public Health is the field that evaluates and considers initiatives for the improvement of these health concerns.
I believe in order for me to become a successful physician, a Master of Public Health is essential. Through shadowing, I have been exposed to experiences in which the health care delivery system has failed to do its primary job: facilitate access to quality health care. Too often have I seen people denied from health services because their insurance does not cover that one treatment they need. Too often have I seen inadequate care administered to patients because of hospitals’ emphasis on maximizing patient turnover instead of maximizing patients’ needs. Too often have I seen patients concerned about whether their health care provider will deny care based on preconceived biases. My desire to pursue a career that connects Public Health and medicine stems from wanting to discover why these discrepancies exist and how the health care system as a whole can help minimize these inequities.
The Lown Institute strongly advocates for this crucial change in creating an equal health care system for all and I am honored to be interning here this spring.