[Note: this is a guest post by Jessica R. Hamilton, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Boston Young Healthcare Professionals & former HCFA staffer]
We all know Massachusetts is a state of innovation and firsts. But nothing tops our state’s list of firsts more than the gains we’ve made in access to health care. There’s a real health care movement in Massachusetts, and more importantly, there’s a commitment to working together to figure out the ins and outs of our health care system. We have nationally recognized professionals leading our work, but there’s also an untapped group of young, dedicated professionals ready to roll up their sleeves and contribute to the work being done here. However, from where I sit, there’s very little recognition of this group.
Let me tell you a little more about myself. In 2008, almost fresh out of college, I found myself thrown into the middle of the Massachusetts health care scene when I accepted a position as a policy associate with Health Care For All (HCFA). I had not a clue what I was getting myself into, but I knew I was committed to building a career in health care policy here in Massachusetts and that was the beauty of it. However, outside of my talented staff, I didn’t know anyone else my age who knew what I meant when I talked about medical loss ratio, data-mining, or the social determinants of health. I began to feel like that dorky cousin you don’t invite out to public events. Personally, I craved the opportunity to meet my counterparts working in state or local government, health insurance, pharma/biotech, hospitals and so on, but had no clue how to make that happen. It wasn’t until after I left HCFA to pursue other interests in health care that I learned two things: 1) I have a lot more to learn about health care and 2) I need to build relationships with my unknown counterparts in other health care disciplines to make that happen.
Last spring, I met a young woman asking the same questions I had and off of her idea to create a forum to connect young professionals like us, Boston Young Healthcare Professionals (BYHP) (www.byhp.org), was born. The purpose of BYHP is to connect emerging and passionate healthcare leaders in the greater Boston area to foster strong relationships and build knowledge across all healthcare disciplines. By providing members and the larger healthcare community with educational, professional development, networking, and civic engagement opportunities and events, BYHP will serve as a forum for young professionals across all healthcare disciplines to collaborate, share knowledge and experiences, and grow their careers.
Our organization officially launches tonight (Thursday) at 6:30pm in Cambridge. Details and RSVP info are here. We have great speakers lined up to talk about the importance of cross-sector relationships and developing young professionals: a seasoned healthcare professional and member of our Advisory Board and the writers of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog.
To date, more than 350 professionals have registered to attend our event which goes to show you that BYHP could very well be the next movement in Massachusetts health care. We hope you’ll get involved and need you – your time, energy and ideas, too. There are endless opportunities for young professionals, employers, seasoned professionals, and health care stakeholders to get involved in BYHP. Will you join us?