Michelle Williams was a Graduate Scholar in 2016 when she interned for the Office of the National Coordinator, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington D.C.

Where are you from?
I was born in Brazil, grew up in Guyana, moved to New York City, and then to Michigan.

Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I attended the University of Michigan, where I attained a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and a Master of Health Informatics.

What was the best part of your internship?
The part of my internship I enjoyed most was seeing firsthand how coordination among stakeholders at the federal, state, and local level works when developing national healthcare programs and policies. My internship offered me the opportunity to support coordination in developing a Zika virus pregnancy registry through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the execution of an interjurisdictional immunization data exchange pilot.

What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns?
I can’t stress the importance of networking enough. Meet everyone that you can, and then meet some more. Organize as many informational meetings as you can and stay in touch afterwards. Those contacts are very helpful for giving advice over the course of time and can point you in the right direction toward your future career.

What are you doing now?
I work as a healthcare analyst at the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT), a non-profit that is part of Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s Health System. I am responsible for providing evaluation and analytical support to a variety of CHRT’s survey and evaluation projects. I also provide support for the data workgroup of the State Innovation Model for the state of Michigan.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to be making a difference in improved access to healthcare for rural and underserved communities.

What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?
My favorite book is Aloft, written by Chang Rae Lee, which is a novel that uses satire to deal with the issue of race and “belonging” in America from an immigrant perspective. I also find the biographies of musicians to be fascinating reads. One of the best I’ve read is about singer, Billie Holiday.

Tell us a fun fact!
I love traveling and have visited four of the world’s seven continents.

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