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My understanding of the health care system drastically changed while participating in the daily work of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. I began interning at the Center with minimal background knowledge of Medicare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the intricate web of players in the health care system. I interned at an interesting time, where a myriad of efforts were made towards health care reform because of the new administration.

The Center comprises an executive director, several consultants, attorneys and other advocates and several information coordinators all working together to support those needing legal representation, incorporating their years of background experiences in the federal government, legal services, and advocacy into health policy proposals and offering a voice to the often voiceless. The work the Center does is imperative for health care reform. New approaches within the CMA allow dialogue to open on a much broader level. Recently, CMA created the Medicare Advocates Alliance ,which incorporates advocacy groups from 20 different states. It is because of the work of advocacy groups like this that there is a constant dialogue about healthcare.

I spent my time attending briefings, hearings and reading new policy research. I was fortunate enough to begin a research project for CMA that ultimately provided me with valuable insight into the healthcare system, law and health policy. I was able to outline the project and do the research through their support. I gained more critical thinking and analyzing skills than I did in any course I've taken in my undergraduate career. I was exposed to a completely new realm of policy and encouraged every step of the way.

Throughout my time at CMA, I learned a lot about policy, health care disparities, and the steps taken to overcome problems in healthcare. It was most invigorating and most humbling to be a part of their organization for such a short time. I will always be inspired by CMA’s dedication in maintaining fair access to health care as I continue advancing my professional career.

Diana Ibrahim
Health Policy Intern
Summer 2009

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