Doctor of Policy

Doctor of Policy is a column dedicated to exploring and challenging contemporary health policy issues, especially in the fields of behavioral health, health care access, and inclusion, all from the eyes of a public health girl in a basic sciences world.

Aishwarya Rajagopalan Aishwarya Rajagopalan (16 Posts)

Writer-in-Training, Columnist and in-Training Staff Member

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine


Aishwarya is a second year medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She relishes any opportunity to talk policy, social determinants of health, mental health parity and inclusion topics. Outside of school, Aishwarya enjoys yoga, green tea with lemon and copious amounts of dark chocolate.

Doctor of Policy

Doctor of Policy is a column dedicated to exploring and challenging contemporary health policy issues, especially in the fields of behavioral health, health care access, and inclusion, all from the eyes of a public health girl in a basic sciences world




What Does the Refugee Crisis Mean for Medicine?

Over the past few months, a recurring topic in news conversation has been the plight of refugees from Syria. Recently, European nations such as Germany have contemplated whether to extend asylum to many of the estimated 6.5 million individuals displaced within Syria, and the 3.5 million who have fled to neighboring nations. The Syrian Civil War began in 2011, and with growing instability in the region due to the growth of groups such as ISIS, much of the previous infrastructure has eroded, including the country’s health care and public health systems. There are a number of concerns for the health of refugees trapped in Syria, and for those who have found asylum in countries across the globe.

LGBT Health: The Next Frontier?

Just last month, the Supreme Court issued a ruling declaring bans on same-sex marriage illegal. While many hail this as a major step in the quest for equality, equity in health outcomes is still lacking in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Many clinicians and prospective clinicians do not receive significant training in how to address the unique needs of members of the LGBT population.

An Ode to Teamwork

“Medicine is a team sport,” said one of many administrators who spoke to my class during medical school orientation. This utterance rang true to me, as I have always believed that medicine relies on people working together in a cooperative and respectful manner. Yet, what I never imagined is just how challenging it is to work in a group when you are the most passive person in a room. I came into medical school shy and feeling a little out of place.

The Curse of Knowledge

Every other person in my family assured me I have nothing to fear, that I shouldn’t toss and turn in my bed at night feeling powerless because I’m in Philadelphia, thousands of miles away from India. Most days I reminded myself that to go to India I must first drag myself across the finish line of first year. But late at night alone in my apartment, I was haunted by lab values. I wracked my brain over the latest hemoglobin, sodium, potassium and chest x-ray. What am I missing? Is there something I can see that doctors with hundreds of years of collective experience cannot? The reality is that I didn’t have the answers for the people I love, and that thought terrified me more than anything.

Policy Briefing: Residency Funding

Whether you’re a first-year trying to survive the last few hours, days or weeks of school, or you’re a seasoned third-year ready to start applying for residency programs, a crucial piece of legislation was just brought to Congress and it’s time to talk about it. As you may know, funding for residency programs has remained virtually stagnant since 1997. While the funding has remained consistent, enrollment in medical schools has increased nearly 30% since 2002. How have we accommodated the increased number of entering medical students in residency training programs?

The Great Needle Exchange Debate

In the past few weeks, there has been considerable press surrounding needle exchanges and the recently declared HIV epidemic in Indiana.

The first time I talked with my friends about needle exchanges, I had a visceral reaction. “Why would you give people new needles?” I asked, completely outraged. “Isn’t that enabling and therefore doing a disservice to the very people you’re trying to help?”

Ten Policy Issues to Watch in 2015

What I have learned along the way is that many people find policy boring. Maybe they associate it with clips of C-SPAN they watched in middle school civics class, or perhaps it evokes the frustration felt when yet another health policy dies a silent death on a Congressional floor, but whatever the reason, policy is ascribed as a responsibility solely for politicians. This presents a massive conundrum because our interests as future clinicians cannot be represented if we are not the ones speaking to policymakers.

Aishwarya Rajagopalan Aishwarya Rajagopalan (16 Posts)

Writer-in-Training, Columnist and in-Training Staff Member

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine


Aishwarya is a second year medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She relishes any opportunity to talk policy, social determinants of health, mental health parity and inclusion topics. Outside of school, Aishwarya enjoys yoga, green tea with lemon and copious amounts of dark chocolate.

Doctor of Policy

Doctor of Policy is a column dedicated to exploring and challenging contemporary health policy issues, especially in the fields of behavioral health, health care access, and inclusion, all from the eyes of a public health girl in a basic sciences world