Students and panelists from the University and beyond gathered for one of Brandeis’ first student-led healthcare conferences on Friday afternoon. 

The lectures were split into three sessions, each one focused on the three aspects of Health: Science, Society and Policy. 

Dr. Ken Kaitin from Tufts University School of Medicine provided perspective on evolving innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. Josie Elias ’02, the program manager for digital health innovation at Brigham and Women’s Healthcare, discussed the importance of recognizing the intersection of health and technology. 

After the first two speakers addressed the audience, The Justice interviewed audience member Jared Martin ’19 who said, “I felt like the information was very holistic to the field in general. … Coming here today made me very aware of different perspectives of medicine I didn’t even think possible.”

The following sessions featured a member of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, a former member of the United Nations Children’s Fund and current president of a nutrition company, and an associate director of policy and government relations at Health Care For All. In addition, a senior fellow and senior scientists from Brandeis’ own Heller School of Social Policy and Management addressed the audience. 

Shikha Chandarana ’17 and Sara Kramer ’17 conceived the idea for a healthcare conference at the University in the summer of 2016 and began planning the event in February 2017. Kramer explained in an interview with the Justice, “We always attended these healthcare conferences at other schools, but we realized that Brandeis has never really done anything like that, and the two of us decided, ‘Let’s give it a shot!’”

Chandarana declared that the “lines and lines” of students waiting for food during the lunch break demonstrated the value of the conference. 

Kramer agreed, saying, “We’ve talked about our vision for it, and of course you can plan and plan, but it’s really rewarding to see this take shape.” 

Both seniors hope their event will encourage students across disciplines to take initiative to work on ideas they have for campus events. Both also hope that their event gave extra resources to students interested in healthcare. 

Kramer declared, “When you find an area within HSSP that you love, take the time to develop up and get real world experience in the field to see if it’s what you’d like to do in the long term. 

Chandarana added, “This is my way of saying to other HSSP students that this field has so many passions. As a senior leaving, I wanted this to be my magnum opus.”