Student Spotlight: Anamika Sharma Paudel

In 2015, Anamika Sharma Paudel survived a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, followed by several hundred aftershocks, in her home country of Nepal. Witnessing an army of healthcare professionals working relentlessly to serve communities in need deeply inspired Anamika to dedicate her life to three important areas: healthcare, service, and people.

Anamika Sharma Paudel

Anamika was excited to learn that Weill Cornell Medicine’s Master of Science in Healthcare Policy and Research program offers interdisciplinary learning opportunities and is taught by world-renowned researchers who could help her meet her goals. For those reasons and more, WCM became her top choice for graduate school to begin this path towards healthcare service.

“This program has prepared leaders, changemakers, and trailblazers in healthcare for policy analysis, process improvement, quality assessment, healthcare information technology, and healthcare delivery,” she said. “Weill Cornell Medicine believes in excellence, diversity, inclusion, and collaboration, which resonates with my core values.”

She also is impressed by WCM’s partnership with local healthcare institutions, including her former employer Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Anamika began working as a healthcare administrator at MSK after completing her undergraduate studies in 2020. There, she saw firsthand how technology such telemedicine, virtual screening, and contact tracing became a driving force in delivering healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Witnessing the power of data and technology in advancing medicine solidified her desire to enter the health informatics track of the MS program.

One highlight of the program for Anamika has been the opportunity to collaborate with a cohort of students from different backgrounds. “They bring real-world solutions from their work experiences and compel me to think critically,” she said. “We have many group projects and it’s an amazing experience to collaborate with these students while being held to the very high standard of being published in journals.”

She has also enjoyed engaging with faculty and assisting in research efforts. That includes the capstone project. Anamika is working with three other students on a project under the guidance of Dr. Yunyu Xiao, assistant professor of population health sciences, to analyze the social determinants of mental health and service utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. Together, they are researching how COVID-19 has impacted accessibility and utilization in the context of geographical locations using artificial intelligence.

Anamika is particularly grateful to two other faculty members: Dr. Yiye Zhang, assistant professor of population health sciences and program director for the health informatics track, and Dr. Robert Tyler Braun, instructor in population health sciences. Dr. Zhang has been Anamika’s go-to person for career advice and Dr. Braun gave Anamika the opportunity to work with him as a teaching assistant for a course in the Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership program. “I learned a lot about the healthcare system at a granular level and heard 55 students who were CEOs, CFOs, physicians, nurse leaders, and directors of different healthcare organizations propose their solutions in the class,” she said. “This broadened my perspective on the healthcare system and taught me how to think like an executive leader at an early age.”

A final member of the graduate school Anamika would like to thank is student services administrator Clive Liew. Clive is an outstanding student resource and advocate, especially for international students like Anamika. “He has gone above and beyond to help international students at WCM succeed by organizing seminars with immigration attorneys, helping with legalities around on-campus jobs and internships, sharing new job opportunities, and more,” she said. “He has been a support system for me and all international students, and we are thankful to him.”

After graduating in 2022, Anamika plans to enter the job market as a health data analyst at a non-profit research healthcare organization. She is especially excited to focus on her two passions: healthcare equity and mental health. Eventually, Anamika’s goal is to serve as a data scientist on the executive board of a healthcare organization.

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