News Story

Health Care Management & Policy Senior Focuses on Drug Policy, Plans Medical Career

November 26, 2019 – Julia Gasior (NHS’20) majors in health care management & policy (HCMP) at the School of Nursing & Health Studies. Her internships have focused on drug addiction and policy, and she hopes to direct her future career as a physician toward primary care, psychiatry, public health, and urban health.

Julia Gasior (NHS’20) poses in front of St. Mary’s Hall.
Julia Gasior (NHS’20) poses in front of St. Mary’s Hall.

Question: Where did you grow up, and how did you discover Georgetown?

Gasior: Aside from myself and my parents, my entire family lives in Poland, so I grew up a little here, a little there, and a lot of places in between. Functionally, though, home is the west suburbs of Philly. When applying to college, I was drawn to Georgetown’s international focus, as well as the smaller, close-knit NHS community and the many health policy opportunities available to me in D.C.

Question: How are you enjoying Georgetown and the health care management & policy major?

Gasior: I could wax poetic about a lot of things that Georgetown has given me – senior year gets a little nostalgic – but I’m most grateful for the choose-your-own-adventure nature of the HCMP major. “Health systems” is an analytical framework that can be applied to just about any issue in health care, so within the major, we each have remarkable latitude to specialize in what we care about. 

No one does HCMP the same way. I’ve focused on U.S. drug policy and the overdose crisis, but every day I learn so much from my classmates for whom “health systems” means something totally different. The simultaneous depth and breadth of this major, the concrete skills I’ve gained, and the ability to manage systems-level complexity have made me a better student, intern, and future clinician.

Question: Tell us about some of your extracurricular activities. 

Gasior: Since sophomore year, I’ve been a student academic mentor in Human Biology, teaching weekly sessions for the NHS’s foundational course in anatomy and physiology. I’m also a coordinator of the NHS Peer Advising program and a board member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society. In past years, I’ve sat on the Student Health Advisory Board and done research on pandemic flu through the Department of Health Systems Administration, where my major is housed.

Question: What have your internships focused on the past few years?

Gasior: Two summers ago, I worked on the only legal syringe exchange in Philly, working directly in the midst of my city’s opioid overdose crisis. On the exchange, I distributed syringes and naloxone (an overdose-reversal medication), conducted naloxone trainings, and connected participants to the medical, legal, and social services available at the non-profit Prevention Point. My summer was jarring, emotional, and incredibly eye-opening; working in the field exposed me to the realities of substance use, housing instability, and criminal justice involvement in an underserved urban community.

This past summer, I interned for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), in the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care, and Treatment. At DOHMH, I assisted with the city’s surveillance of fatal overdose. Working in the city government let me put my analytical public health skills to good use – but, more importantly, the work was granular enough where I never lost sight of the people we were serving.

This semester, I’m working at a ketamine infusion clinic in northern Virginia and volunteering with the Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition, a grassroots advocacy organization that promotes equitable drug policy throughout the state. In the spring, I plan to intern for the Drug Policy Alliance, the most prominent drug policy advocacy organization in the field, as my senior year HCMP practicum.

I have found incredible value in my internship experiences. My Georgetown education, and the HCMP major in particular, prepared me rigorously and thoroughly for each and every one.

Question: Tell us about your plans after Georgetown.

Gasior: After a whirlwind few months, I’m thrilled to be accepted to medical school, matriculating next summer. I’m interested in MD/MPH programs, with a particular focus on urban health, psychiatry, and primary care.