Stefan Masselink has had a global view from a young age. Born in Parma, Italy, but raised in Healdsburg, California, Stefan stayed in touch with his roots by remaining fluent in Italian and regularly visiting his relatives in Italy. By the time he reached high school, Stefan had become interested in medicine, which inspired him to participate in a medical mission trip to a developing country. This experience highlighted medicine’s fundamentally altruistic nature and jumpstarted his journey into the healthcare field. Now, Stefan is enrolled in the health policy and economics track of the MS in Healthcare Policy and Research program at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM). He hopes to better understand healthcare as a driver of research and innovation, a stage for political reform, and one of the country’s largest industries.
As a prospective doctor, he is fascinated by the intricacies of the healthcare field. Eager to learn more about the political and economic infrastructure supporting the American healthcare system, he decided to join the program class of 2023 before pursuing an MD program.
Stefan’s favorite courses so far are Introduction to US Healthcare Policy and Delivery, taught by Rachel Schwartz, senior policy analyst at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and adjunct professor at WCM; and Introduction to Applied Econometrics for Health Policy, taught by Dr. Jing Li, assistant professor of population health sciences. “I found these topics extremely pertinent to my future profession and important for anyone using the U.S. healthcare system,” he said. “These skills are crucial for developing healthcare research literacy and successfully entering the job market.”
He is also grateful for the many opportunities the program has already provided beyond the curriculum. “It’s a gold mine, but it’s up to you to decide how much gold you want to get out of it,” he said. “Through this program, students have the privilege of networking with incredibly bright peers who come from all corners of the world, connecting with faculty, gaining access to plenty of resources, and developing professional skills through research opportunities and a robust capstone project—all within the context of living in New York.”
A personal highlight for Stefan was leveraging the skills and knowledge gained through coursework and experience in the Tri-Institutional Consulting Club to secure an internship at a healthcare consulting firm in Manhattan. He encourages fellow students to take the time to find these opportunities.
Stefan is currently in the process of applying to medical school. He thanks Dr. Li and Dr. Mark Unruh, associate professor of population health sciences, for their guidance throughout the curriculum and as he begins to consider his next steps. Stefan looks forward to one day combining his training to help the medically underserved, either through direct medical intervention or by contributing to effective health policies and healthcare programs. “I am confident that the knowledge and skills offered through this program will allow me to become a better doctor,” he said. “One who is well-informed about the political and economic mechanisms allowing physicians to practice medicine both domestically and abroad.”