Capital rotation

Jackie Green (left) and Representative Sharon Cooper

While in medical school at Emory,
Jackie Green (left) worked as a health policy intern at the Capitol, guided by Representative Sharon Cooper, who herself holds a master
's in nursing.

Jackie Green 09M requested what some might think of as an unusual site to complete a rotation—the Georgia state Capitol—something no Emory medical student had done before.

"It was great for me because I was invested in the policy decisions," says Green, who is now an internal medicine resident at Emory.

Green served her rotation under Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), who chairs the Georgia House Health and Human Services Committee. A former psychiatric nurse and college professor, Cooper wanted Green to become immersed in the political process at the General Assembly. 

"Jackie was the first person with the insight to ask for a rotation at the Capitol," Cooper says. "I tried to make sure Jackie went with me, from meeting with the governor's lawyer to one-on-one negotiations with others." The hands-on guidance gave Green a chance to work on several health policy bills and helped with the successful passage of the Medical Practice Act, which clarifies the roles and responsibilities of medical professionals. 

While working with legislators on health policy was new to Green, working to influence policy was not. She previously served as an officer in Health Students Taking Action Together (HealthSTAT), a student-run, not-for-profit dedicated to influencing health legislation. When HealthSTAT took an active role in an effort to keep Grady Hospital open, Green helped organize students for a campaign that drew attention to the hospital's plight. 

Green's precedent has paved the way for other Emory medical students to complete a health policy rotation with the legislature, underscored by a request from Rep.Cooper to work with additional Emory students. 

Arthur Kellermann, the medical school's associate dean for health policy, considers these opportunities crucial to medical professionals seeking a greater understanding of how politics and medicine interact. He worked with the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, as part of a health policy fellowship offered by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "It's the difference between watching a play and participating in the play as both a stage hand and member of the cast."

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