WUHC Summer Update: Presenting 10 Weeks in 30 Minutes

Lucia Huang, WUHC Member

As SPUR is quickly coming to a close, I find myself wondering where the time went. I absolutely loved diving into my project and investigating my research question single-mindedly and wholeheartedly.

At our weekly SPUR meetings, we have the opportunity to hear about the research experiences of professors and PhD students alike. Their varied firsthand accounts of the joys and struggles of research intrigued me, adding new dimensions to my own experiences. Dr. Eric Clemons shared with us that the greatest joy of research was the freedom to ask and pursue a question born of your own curiosity. I have found this to be true this summer. To search and explore and discover: this is the reason for my love of research. Valeria Montero Stourm, W’10, shared her experiences as a Marketing PhD student and new mother. We bonded over our interest in healthcare; in fact, I was thrilled to learn that Valeria co-founded Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club (along with an alumni of my dual-degree program, David Shih, W’10 N’10)! What a wonderfully small world!

Although it was challenging, tackling Stata for my research project empowered me to reach new depths of analysis that few other undergraduate students delve into. My primary source of data required an extensive cleaning process to ensure maximum accuracy. I created a variable in Stata to collapse practice firms and determine practice configurations, which describes the composition of providers at each individual practice and whether the practice provides primary, specialty, or multispecialty care. After supplementing my data analysis with an extensive literature review, I synthesized my results and began writing my research paper.

Last Thursday, I presented my research findings to the program director, Dr. Martin Asher, and my fellow student researchers.

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It was challenging to condense my work spanning 10 weeks into a 30-minute presentation, but I was so excited to take on this challenge. After my presentation, I received several thought-provoking questions that I would love to investigate in future projects. Since providers in specialty care receive greater financial incentives and often enjoy better lifestyles than those working in primary care, will we see nurse practitioners moving to specialty care for the same reasons and at similar rates as physicians? If the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program will increase the length of education for nurse practitioners, will this drive up costs and slow access to care? Can we afford to do this with such an influx of patients after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act?

On another note, Philadelphia truly comes to life in the summer. I love exploring Philly’s charming neighborhoods, farmer’s markets, cafes, museums, and parks. Brunch is my favorite meal of the day, so my friends and I have made it a tradition to try a new restaurant for brunch every Saturday morning. We plan to document our adventures in a food blog!