News Release Selects Winning Student Essays Identifying Future Health Policy Challenges

The Kaiser Family Foundation announced the winners of its fourth annual essay contest today, sponsored by the foundation’s educational health policy website, The contest invited students to identify the major health policy challenges the nation will face in the year 2015 and discuss how the top two priorities should be addressed.

Entries were received from more than 400 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at colleges and universities across the country in a wide range of disciplines including public health, medicine, nursing, economics, and law.

“The passage of health reform brings a great opportunity for students to play a more active role in health care policy through their studies and after they graduate as our future policy analysts, health care providers, and policy makers,” said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman. “The interest in the contest this year shows that health reform has activated student interest across the country,” Altman added.

The winners from the graduate student entries are:

  • 1st Place:  Marilyn Michelow, Weill Cornell Medical College, studying Medicine (expected graduation 2012), whose essay was titled “Health Care Reform 5 Years Out: Payment, Pricing and Primary Care.”
  • 2nd Place: Sarah Katz, Georgetown University, studying Health Systems Administration (expected graduation May 2010), whose essay was titled “The State of Health Care in 2015: Access Problems and Health Disparities Persist.”

The winners from the undergraduate student entries are:

  • 1st Place: Catherine Denver, Johns Hopkins University, Major: Nursing (expected graduation May 2010), whose essay was titled “2015: Health Policy Issues of Our Time.”

Tied for 2nd Place:

  • Danielle De Luca, Georgetown University, Major: Healthcare Management and Policy (expected graduation May 2012), whose essay was titled “The Future of American Healthcare: What Lies Ahead.”
  • Yuri Hanada, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Major: Biology (expected graduation June 2010), whose essay was titled “Disparities and Shortages: Major Policy Challenges in American Medicine.”

The panel of final judges for the essay contest was comprised of leading national experts on health policy and politics, including Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic; Sheila Burke of Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Ruth Katz, Congressional staffer and former Dean of the George Washington University School of Public Health; Drew Altman, Ph.D., Kaiser president and CEO; and Diane Rowland, Sc.D., Kaiser executive vice president. is a free website for students, faculty and others interested in learning about health policy. The site presents a broad array of resources, including tutorials on health policy basics, issue modules on current topics under debate and a directory of internships and fellowships.



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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.