PKG Social Impact Internships: Smrithi Raman (’21)

Hi! My name is Smrithi Raman and I’m a senior majoring in course 20 and minoring in course 17. This semester, I’ve been working with the Better Evidence team at Ariadne Labs, identifying innovative data visualization approaches to support the program’s expansion. 

Over the past four years, I’ve tried to engage meaningfully with the intersection of my education as a biological engineer and global public service. Prior to this internship, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the PKG Center on deploying global technology projects via two programs: the IDEAS Social Innovation Challenge and the IAP Fellowship program. Participation in these programs complemented my academic growth and lent me a sense of purpose as I navigated my time at MIT. Through the IDEAS challenge, I reflected on the evolving employment landscape of underprivileged women in India, and identified sustainable solutions to encourage socioeconomic mobility. A year later, through the IAP fellowship program, I was a resident volunteer at a nonprofit organization in India, dedicated to a similar goal of empowering individuals with self-sufficiency to facilitate socioeconomic opportunity. 

This semester, I was excited to come across Ariadne Labs, a health systems innovation organization working in the global public service sphere. Having never worked in the global public health sector before, I wanted to use my last semester at MIT to gain experience in the field that intersected my academic interests in healthcare and career interests in global public service. I’m part of the Better Evidence (BE) program managed at Ariadne Labs which has a unique perspective on improving healthcare outcomes in low-resource clinical settings. Through a partnership with Wolters Kluwer, the BE team identifies providers working with vulnerable populations to provide free subscriptions of UpToDate, a comprehensive evidence-based clinical resource, integral to clinical practice and physician decision-making in the US. In several observational studies, the team has demonstrated that the removal of the cost barrier of an UpToDate subscription significantly improved the quality of healthcare delivery. In addition, BE provides subscriptions of UpToDate to clinical institutions and medical schools to encourage a broader integration of EBCRs in local clinical practice

As the program enters its twelfth year, the team has been actively identifying opportunities to expand their scope and reach, grounded in data analytics. My responsibility this semester has been to streamline the existing survey and application data from provider and institution applications and identify and visualize metrics that demonstrate the utility of specific program activities. It’s been an exciting on-ramp to the team, as I have been getting up to speed on relevant literature and familiarizing myself with navigating their massive database. Going forward, I will be identifying monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks that analogous global health organizations utilize to quantify their impact and will be generating a dashboard with statistical visualizations of data the team has already collected. I am hopeful that my previous experience with data analytics in classwork and internships will inform this effort and enable me to support the BE team meaningfully. 

One of the best decisions I made at MIT was to become a frequent flyer at the PKG Center and seek out opportunities to learn about the non-profit arena, particularly as it applies to public health. These opportunities strongly informed my professional career plans. I envision obtaining an MPH and transitioning to working with global healthcare delivery nonprofit organizations, to reduce global health inequities. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had at the PKG Center and, particularly, my edifying experience at Ariadne Labs for profoundly shaping my path at MIT.

Interested in a Summer Social Impact Internship? Learn more about how to apply here!

Tags: Health, Health & Medicine, Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships Spring 2021, Tech for Good

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