George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Health Policy Institute Students Visit the Hill and Meet with Legislators

June 24, 2019

Nigel Walker and Solange Mwadjuma outside Senator Tim Kaine’s office.

The George Mason Health Policy Institute is an annual tradition designed to provide students and professionals with front-row knowledge of health policy including the policy-making process and how to effectively prepare for and navigate conversations with legislators… all crowned with a day on the Hill to meet with legislators and their staff.

Hear more about the experience from HPI attendee and MHA student Nigel Walker’s perspective.

Nigel C. Walker
Masters of Health Administration, Healthcare Systems Management 
​Graduating December 2019

What did you learn or what skills did you gain through the experience of calling on members of Congress during HPI 2019?

One unexpected piece of information I picked up was the fact that members of Congress allow for actual documented input prior to presenting a bill in many cases.  There are so many levels between constituents and policy, but this is a way that the layperson can actually put a fingerprint on policy.

How will you apply these skills and experience in the future?

I feel that I have several career options, but if I do end up in leadership for a healthcare organization, I have a glimpse of how to make my words reach the legislature as an individual or as part of an association or lobby.

What part of the experience was most informative or beneficial?

I enjoyed speaking with the Healthcare Leadership Council to learn how different interests can align to make a more powerful and influential voice on a regional level, as national policy is sometimes slow-moving.

How did HPI help prepare you for engaging with policymakers?

[The HPI sessions focused on preparing for our meetings with lawmakers] helped set reasonable expectations [for what we could accomplish in these brief meetings] and also helped to understand the patience required in creating, announcing and enacting policy changes.

How will you apply this experience to current or future roles?

One thing I will always remember is that any change in policy will have winners and losers, so it’s important to think of possible unintended consequences of making [policy] changes.

Anything else you’d like to share about the experience of going to the Hill or HPI in general?

With just the experience of that one day of meetings, I can see the appeal in working on federal health policy.  There is a vast number of entities and interests are affected when enacting policy, and it takes a lot of time and effort to make sure that all of those viewpoints are considered.


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