Q&A with Nadia Krigger, PQA MPH Practicum Program Participant

Nadia Krigger, a Master of Public Health candidate at New York University participated in the PQA MPH Practicum Program during the Fall 2021 semester. Krigger has a background in biological and analytical research and her interests include infectious disease research and health policy. While at PQA, she supported development of a manuscript on the empirical validity of PQA’s opioid measures. She recently shared insights on her time with PQA and the value of a medication use quality-focused practicum for MPH students.

Applications for the Summer 2022 MPH Practicum Program are due at noon ET on February 18, 2022.

Can you tell us about what you worked on during your practicum at PQA and how this supplemented your training?

During my time at PQA, I worked on a paper for peer-review publication focused on clinical recommendations for opioid prescribing, opioid outcomes, and existing opioid quality measurement. My duties included: constructing a comprehensive literature review for further analysis; synthesizing findings from literature (noting methods used, levels of measurement, and strength/direction of correlations); drafting each component of the paper based on literature review and dossier information; and, finally, preparing the paper for submission to the Health Services Management Research journal.

These duties coincided with the research knowledge that I already had before I began at PQA, but these tasks did strengthen my literature review analysis skill, as time was of the essence. With the amount of literature I had to review, being able to efficiently pull out key information from lengthy articles was absolutely key.

Additionally, I became more aware of how important quality measures are from a pharmaceutical standpoint and a public health standpoint, as well. This is important because much of what I read and was learning as the internship proceeded was largely pharmaceutical based; however, I was always able to find a link to what I had been learning in a given week at PQA to what I have learned or was learning in my academic studies. This program strengthened my understanding of how health policy is an integral field of study and how public health is all-encompassing, especially when it comes to measuring the quality of health and the quality of medicine.

How did your time with PQA influence your career trajectory?

Prior to my internship experience at PQA, my career aspirations were largely split between disease epidemiology and health policy and administration. Currently, I am in my graduate program with a concentration in global health.

I chose global health so that I could study general topics, at least for my first year, in order to gauge which direction I wanted to pursue with regard to my career. Within my first year, I was already leaning toward policy despite having extensive research experience in disease epidemiology. I took several health policy and law courses and am still taking them in my second year.

However, I was still between epidemiology and policy until I met some individuals at PQA who not only helped me along with my internship duties, but also with academic choices and advice. Everyone at PQA was immediately so welcoming and eager to learn more about me, which further compelled me to find that comfort I needed to discuss my dilemma in choosing a career path.

Although I spoke with many individuals at PQA, there were three individuals who I spoke to weekly and they helped contribute to my now resolute decision on pursuing health policy and administration. It wasn’t only the intriguing individuals I met who helped contribute to my ultimate decision – it was also (unironically) the journal article that I worked on throughout my semester at PQA, as well as what I learned while crafting this document.

There were times when I would read extraneous literature on the chosen topic for my own enjoyment of learning, not to mention that much of the policies, programs, and interventions that were included in the literature were also related to what I’d been learning in my policy courses. My mentors at PQA would notice my eagerness to discuss topics related to my academic coursework and our discussions would be zestful.

Other than what you’ve already mentioned, what are some takeaways from your experience at PQA?

I think the biggest takeaway from my personal experience here at PQA is the importance of asking for help when it’s needed. There were many instances in which I was stuck in a loop of misunderstanding certain components of the paper and it’s formatting, etc., and I felt it was unnecessary to ask my mentors for help because my tasks seemed simple. But I’m very meticulous with my work, so I had to break out of the feeling of needing to complete everything independently.

Needless to say, whenever I ran into an issue or when I did not understand something, I decided to ask for the help of my supervisors all the while explaining to them my thought process for a specific task. This way, I learned from my mistakes and I learned more ways to go about completing my tasks. Everyone at PQA was so eager and willing to help me in any way that they could (whether PQA-related or academia-related) so it became easier to introduce my questions even in regular conversation.

Learn More About the MPH Practicum Program

If you are interested in learning more about the MPH Practicum Program at PQA or other learner opportunities, visit the PQA website or feel free to send your inquiry to [email protected]. Other learner opportunities at PQA are available in the form of fellowships and internships to PharmD graduates as well as graduates with undergraduate or advanced degrees in a related field. Hear more from five former students that joined PQA describe the work they participated in, where they envision their career to go, and how their experience at PQA added to their professional advancement.

CLICK HERE to go directly to the application form for the MPH Practicum Program.

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