Seeking a more holistic approach to health care

An illustration that shows many health care optionsIllustration/Getty Images

Sarah Davidson ’23 believes there’s more to healthcare than having access to a doctor, medicine, or emergency services. That’s why she interned at the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) this summer.

Based in Washington, D.C., C-TAC focuses on improving health outcomes for all Americans – particularly the most vulnerable communities – by empowering consumers, advocating for improved public health policies, and engaging with healthcare providers.


Sarah Davidson

Sarah Davidson

Davidson, who double-majors in psychology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP), was drawn to C-TAC because its mission aligned closely with her interests. Her paid internship is part of the World of Work (WOW) Fellowships, which are made possible by the Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice, whose benefactors include Jules Bernstein ’57 and the Class of 1969 Fund for Social Justice. The program is administered by the Hiatt Career Center at Brandeis.

Davidson was one of 39 WOW Scholars this summer.

“I knew I wanted to go into public health, I just wasn’t sure which sector,” Davidson said. “I became interested in the human side of healthcare – not so much the medicine, but what happens when we start thinking about healthcare as something that is also community-based, economic, political, or spiritual.”

Davidson, who worked remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, contributed to outreach efforts aimed at educating healthcare organizations about C-TAC’s mission and advocacy work. She has presented to a hospice center in Hawaii, a pediatric office in Illinois, and several other palliative care organizations across the country.

“I’ve mainly been speaking with these organizations to get to know them better,” Davidson said. “It’s a lot of one-on-one meetings, but ultimately we want them to join our coalition so they can join us in advocating for policies at the state and federal levels.”

Davidson is also examining the effect of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic on end-of-life planning. She says many individuals, particularly in vulnerable communities, often do not have access to resources needed when planning and discussing their mortality and end-of-life care, which is a phenomenon that C-TAC is actively trying to curb.

“With end-of-life and hospice care, there’s only one end result,” said Davidson. “The reality is that we need to do a better job understanding people emotionally when the end comes. No one experiences life and death the same way, so we need people to consider this aspect of their healthcare. It can have a big impact.”

Davidson believes her experience at C-TAC through the WOW Fellowship has given her more ideas of what type of career to pursue and says she could see herself working in a hospital setting.

“I’m very interested in how the social and psychological elements of healthcare intersect,” Davidson said. “I like the idea of working with patients not only through medicine, but on the emotional side as well.”

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