Sophomore helps Massachusetts State Rep improve primary care access for rural residents

Created: August 31, 2020
Last Updated: August 31, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Aug. 31, 2020)—This summer, Neil Pandit ’23 turned his connections into an opportunity to help others.

“I am very involved in the Greater Boston Area as a volunteer photographer,” the sophomore neuroscience major said. “In this capacity, I have been able to photograph and interact with legislators like Rep. (Kenneth) Gordon. At a nonprofit event I photographed in December 2019, I was able to talk with Rep. Gordon and inquire about interning at his office.”

That conversation ultimately led to a position for Neil working with Rep. Gordon’s team on a report proposing ways to improve primary care access and availability for residents of western Massachusetts, and ways to recruit medical students and new physicians to practice in that region. Neil’s project involved proposing a reform to the current tuition remittance program for primary care physicians who choose to practice in that region. His project will be sent to relevant state agencies and lawmakers to provide a reference piece for decision making going forward.

Neil was interested in taking on the role because it was a chance to make an impact and create change in rural Massachusetts. It also was a unique chance to work in healthcare and public policy, distinctly customized to his interest in the field.

“I have gained a deeper insight into how legislation is passed on the state-level. I have also gained an understanding of parliamentary procedure and the purposes of committees like the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing, which is relevant to the work I performed, and conference committees when a bill is passed to be engrossed,” he said.

Professors at W&J were key in readying Neil for this internship.

“I’m grateful for Dr. Candy DeBerry as she provided me with internship advice early in my freshman year,” Neil said. “I would also like to thank Dr. Lauryn Mayer as I wrote about the importance of primary care in the critically underserved region of western Massachusetts in my final project in her course and that project provided me with the basis for my internship project.”

Neil plans to pursue a career as a physician while also being involved in public health advocacy in his local community and state. He would like to practice medicine in an underserved region and continue to advocate for increased access to primary care in these areas.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.