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Moorestown student invites peers to take closer look at health care

Roma Jha provides students with resources on her own site.

Roma Jha said the COVID-19 pandemic has offered an especially revealing look at how the health-care system operates in the United States. Jha, a Moorestown resident and rising junior at Moorestown Friends School, said that now, more than ever, she’d like to spark discussions about health care — especially among students like herself.

For that reason, Jha has created “Healthcare at the Helm,” an initiative that brings together experts, students and anyone interested in learning more about health care through an online platform she created.

On her website, Jha publishes blog posts, analyzes her research on  physicians’ health care knowledge and has a student page where she  posts information for students interested in public health.

Jha’s interest in health care came to a head last summer when she was shadowing a physician. Prior to that, she was operating under the assumption that the health care system was set up to help people. But she said her eyes were quickly opened when she saw the obstacles to care that both physicians and patients had to jump through.

Jha began thinking about insurance, access, quality of procedures and other aspects of public health she hadn’t considered before. When she returned to school in the fall, she wanted some sort of program where she could learn more about public health. In speaking with her fellow students, she discovered others were interested as well. So, she decided to create  her own. 

Jha is currently working on an interview series called “Healthcare Anecdotes: Asking Physicians the Big Questions.” Each episode contains the views of 10 doctors on a controversial, modern issue in health care.  The series provides first-hand accounts of what physicians see and experience on a daily basis.

The rising junior is also in the process of setting up an executive board with students from around the country. Thus far, she’s connected through her site with students from Utah, Connecticut, Virginia and Michigan. Her goal is to have student writers bring their perspectives on different facets of public health.

In the two months since Jha started the site, she’s worked hard to fill it with as much content as possible. She said her research has taught her that there are a multitude of factors that go into the quality of and access to health care. Many of them — such as race, socio-economic status and geographic location — are out of a patient’s control, a fact the series has  driven home for Jha. 

“It’s opened my eyes and made me so passionate about that topic,” she said.

Looking ahead, Jha hopes to extend her initiative into a school program that connects students interested with health-are professionals. Her ultimate goal is to provide students with resources to learn as much as they can. 

To learn more, visit Jha’s website at https://www.healthcareatthehelm.com

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