HPSA Summer Internship Blog Series: A Lifelong Passion for Advancing Pediatric Health Care

As an undergrad at Michigan, I spent the majority of my time not in the classroom, but serving as the Executive Director for Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan- a student run 501 (c)3 that fundraises and advocates for pediatric rehabilitation research and programming at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.  My passion for pediatric healthcare has only grown with time, and I was ecstatic to serve as the Administrative Intern for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital this summer. As an intern at Mott, I have seen first-hand the operational impact that fundraising efforts from organizations like Dance Marathon have on kids and their families. 

Mott is not unique in the world of children’s hospitals: Medicaid patients make up a significant portion of discharges (40% or higher is standard) and Medicaid payments are critical to the bottom line.  As U.S. health policy evolves and changes, Medicaid payments, and the number of patients eligible for Medicaid, is a constant conversation in the children’s hospital. With so much uncertainty, it has become more critical than ever for children’s hospitals specifically to secure funding in other ways, such as through enhanced community relationships and donor development.

Children’s hospitals are known for doing unique things for patients and families not typically seen in other care settings. For example, Mott Children’s hospital sponsors innovative therapeutic programs like horse-back riding, adaptive tree climbing, and a music therapy creation space. Programs like these are critical not only to the patient experience, but for giving kids the chance to be just that--- kids. Unfortunately, neither private insurance nor government programs like Medicaid, fund this type of programming and children’s hospitals are left to seek outside funding sources to bring innovative care practices to life.

My internship with C.S. Mott Children’s has allowed me to see the alignment between my undergrad fundraising and volunteer efforts, the way hospital’s provide excellent quality care for patients, and the health policy conversations in the news and in the classroom. I am more convinced than ever that providing quality pediatric healthcare is the best way to ensure a healthy society—and as our health policy landscape changes, I am more convinced than ever that children’s hospitals will need to rely heavily on community organizations like Dance Marathon and others, to fill the gap.

Jasmine Oesch is a second year Master's in Health Services Administration student at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. She is passionate about advancing health care for women and children.