2020 PFIG Recipient Virginia Lynch

Jessica Meyers

Journal Entry #1

I am a biology major at the University of Virginia with the hope of going to law school and applying my experiences to Health Law. I am interning at the Business Group on Health this summer in the Wellbeing and Workforce institute and the Healthcare Cost and Delivery Institute. Upon my first week, countless of my coworkers went out of their way to welcome me to the group. Some even scheduled virtual calls with me to have a cup of coffee and just get to know each other. To encounter an environment such as this right from the start inspired me to be fully present and involved with these friendly people. This internship was supposed to be located in Washington D.C., however in light of COVID-19, it became a remote experience. The Business Group has adapted my internship to the conditions of the pandemic wonderfully and allowed me to be very involved. When I entered college, I became an emergency medical technician, was involved in laboratory research, and fully planned to go to medical school. However, this past school year I decided I wanted to explore the health industry in a nonclinical setting, therefore this internship checked all my boxes.

I have worked with the Wellbeing and Workforce Institute for the past five weeks. It has been an eye opening experience, as I had no idea the thought that goes behind the health and safety of employees at work. It has been especially interesting now, as we witness the shift in strategies with the mass movement to remote work. The Business Group consists of many female employees, including a female CEO, which I find extremely empowering. I have witnessed the Business Group be extremely inclusive. My coworkers make it clear that they genuinely want to learn and adapt to ensure everyone is comfortable in their workspace.

My work at the Wellbeing and Workforce Institute has consisted of a policy advisement for companies for long term telework programs. I have learned so much from this project and from the woman with whom I worked and who also guided me through it. It was challenging for me to adapt my writing and voice to the style and structure of the Business Group, but I received a lot of help from patient understanding coworkers. I am extremely proud of this piece and everything I have learned thus far, and am grateful for my welcoming coworkers. I am beyond excited to start working at the Health Cost and Delivery Institute this upcoming week.

Journal Entry #2

Time has absolutely flown by. I am shocked that about eight weeks have already passed. I finished my six weeks with the Wellbeing and Workforce Institute and loved every minute of it. We finished our project on long term telework policy advisement for large fortune 500 companies. This was a very rewarding experience, as I learned copious amounts about the internal strategizing of large companies concerning the health and wellbeing of their employees. Through this project, I have improved my writing, research methods, and professional communication via the meetings with large employers. It is currently being edited by the global team before it can be published to the website. I am beyond excited for the day it is published. It will be gratifying to see my weeks of hard work be online and available to help others.

Presently, I am working for the Healthcare Cost and Delivery Institute, which is very geared to my future career goals. I am drafting an outline for a piece that advises employers on how to manage the chronic disease of cancer in the company. It will cover from preventative measures employers may enact, to the patient experience in the workplace, to the different payment models the company may adopt involving healthcare professionals and payors. The research for this project has been tedious and extensive, but it has opened my eyes to the complex inner-workings of America’s healthcare system. This piece will not only provide me with great exposure and knowledge to health policy, but I hope it will also improve the quality of life of employees with cancer.

With the shift in the institute comes a shift in my superior, and I am not disappointed. My boss with the Wellbeing and Workforce Institute was absolutely wonderful and I was shocked to find another as fantastic. Both have trusted me with large responsibilities and provided me with hands on experiences. I never expected to learn and complete as much as I have with this internship and I could not be more grateful. I look forward to moving along with my project and to continue working with such welcoming people.

Journal Entry #3

As I am writing this final journal entry today, I am preparing for my two final meetings with the Business Group on Health. It is a bittersweet feeling, as I am excited for fall classes to start at UVA, but I have greatly enjoyed my time with the Business Group.

I feel that I was able to accomplish a lot of both my personal goals and achieve the goals my supervisors wished of me through this internship. In the Wellbeing and Workforce institute, I was the lead researcher and was able to collaborate on the design and execution of an advisement piece on long-term telework policies. A few days ago it was published to the website, and I could not have been more excited to see the final product. It is very rewarding to see the piece finished, as it can contribute to the safety and wellbeing of countless teleworkers. As far as my work with the Healthcare Cost and Delivery institute, I completed our short term goals of editing various projects on the new Business Group website. Additionally, I was the lead researcher for a project on cancer. I loved researching for this project, as many of my classes at UVA related to the topic. For example, my cell biology course covered various cancer treatments in great depth, while my course on health systems touched on various cancer payment models. Not only did I execute much of the research, but I also designed the outline and wrote the introduction, prevention, and treatment sections of the piece. Unfortunately, our time fell short before I was able to complete any more work, but I know that my supervisor will do a wonderful job finishing it.

Beyond the work this summer, I loved every person I worked alongside. I was concerned the virtual aspect would hinder my ability to make lasting connections, but I had nothing to worry about. My supervisors were vibrant, friendly, and personable and I sincerely hope we stay in touch. They helped me recognize aspects of myself I had not noticed, like my optimism and dedication to tasks. I feel I grew as a professional and developed my writing and researching skills to the extent that I cannot wait to apply these newfound skills to my schoolwork at UVA.

I enjoyed this internship greatly and firmly believe it solidified my dream of attending law school and pursuing a career in health law. I would recommend this internship to anyone, because not only do you learn about cutting edge topics in the health world, but the work being done genuinely helps countless workers globally.