WUHC Summer: A Tale of Two Summers

Imran Cronk, WUHC Member

I’m Imran, a rising junior at Penn studying Health & Societies. When I’m not running, hiking or shooting nature photography, I’m fascinated with the world of healthcare delivery. This summer brings two different but related opportunities: an administrative internship at Mission Health System in Asheville, NC and an independent research project on diabetes management in Australia.

Mission Health is a not-for-profit health system located in western North Carolina that has been recognized by Truven Health Analytics as one of the nation’s top 15 health systems. During my six weeks on campus, I’ve learned an enormous amount about how leaders discuss and solve problems that hold short- and long-term implications.

My mentor, Jon Yeatman, has given me the chance to contribute on a high priority project and learn from shadowing clinical and administrative leaders in numerous departments such as primary care, surgical services, practice integration, revenue cycle and performance improvement. I have not spent much time in other health systems, but the Top 15 distinction here seems well-deserved based on the commitment of caregivers and the dedication of leaders. In future posts, I’ll share specific examples and comment on the dynamic between clinicians and administrators that I’ve observed.

My independent research project in Australia, funded by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF), seeks to understanding the systemic and cultural factors that differentiate diabetes management between the United States and Australia. Currently I’m preparing the travel itinerary for a three week trip in July/August while finishing the preliminary “desk research” component. Look out for photos and reflections in the future!

Don’t hesitate to reach out at icronk@sas.upenn.edu if you want to meet and share your experiences, learn more about my experiences or just discuss healthcare in general! Before I depart, here are some tips for creating summer opportunities:

  • Identify leaders in your desired field (alumni databases are a good place to start) and reach out to them for informational interviews. These are not requests for a summer internship, but rather an informal chance to learn more about their everyday work, challenges and successes. You’ll be surprised at how open people are to picking up the phone and chatting for a half hour. You never know what doors these conversations might open.
  • Start early! Even if you aren’t sure what you want to do next summer, create a list of ideas and start reading about them — better yet, talk to those who have gone through similar experiences. It’s better to put in the time early and potentially have some options than to wait until school’s out and scramble for whatever is available.
  • Carve out some time to relax. Nothing is more important than an extended period of rest during the summer to unwind. During the long days of your research or work, set aside moments to reflect on your life, take walks and exercise, or pick up the phone to catch up with a friend. In the long run, you’ll be happier and healthier.