Featured Guests
  • Health for America Fellow, Manufacturing and Design Engineer
    Health for America Fellow, Manufacturing and Design Engineer
    • Health for America Fellow at Health for America
    Ellen Kourakos, Northwestern University Class of 2012, is a recipient of the Health for America Fellowship. As part of a team of four Fellows, Ellen was chosen from a national pool of applicants that included alumni of Brown, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Cornell, MIT, Stanford, and dozens of other universities across the country. Ellen was selected based on her background in Manufacturing and Design Engineering, her broad experience with human-centered design, and her passion for improving the lives of patients. Ellen_Kourakos While at Northwestern, Ellen participated in the Global Engagement Summit and was a member of the Alpha Phi Fraternity. She was honored with the EDC Design Award, studied abroad in Copenhagen, and interned with Product and Design Metalwork in Brooklyn following her sophomore year. As a research assistant at Northwestern in 2011, Ellen tested polymers to determine the effects of pulverization on oxygen permeability. She also interned at Heathrow Scientific, where she helped to conceive and then manufacture a safety component. After graduating two years ago, Ellen worked for CareFusion in Vernon Hills as a Research and Development Engineer and Project Leader. Her position enabled her to develop and improve medical devices, specifically surgical tools for minimally invasive procedures. She helped to expand the spine portfolio by four catalog codes, and her work focused on the healing of vertebral compression fractures. Ellen was also a Board Member of the company’s Women’s Initiative Network, where she helped initiate and lead corporate events to empower women through mentorship, networking, and community service. Through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicago, Ellen volunteered her time providing educational support to children. She was also the co-founder and facilitator of the Chicago chapter of OpenIDEO, in which she guided a community team through social impact challenges. As a Health for America Fellow, Ellen has the opportunity to conceptualize and actualize health technology solutions. The three Fellows working as Ellen’s teammates are millennials Nick Azpiroz, Sandra Hwang, and Megan Caldwell. “The Health for America Fellowship provides a platform to become submerged in all aspects of the healthcare industry,” says Ellen. “I am hungry for an environment that promotes and fosters creative thinking through the design process, and I believe there is no industry more in need of such a radical change than healthcare.”
  • Health for America Fellow, Mechanical Engineer
    Health for America Fellow, Mechanical Engineer
    • Health for America Fellow at Health for America
    Nick Azpiroz, Stanford Class of 2014, is a recipient of the Health for America Fellowship. As part of a team of four Fellows, Nick was chosen from a national pool of applicants that included alumni of Brown, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, MIT, and dozens of other universities across the country. Nick was selected based on his background in technology and engineering, his demonstrated abilities with design and fabrication, and his interest in improving the American healthcare system. While at Stanford, Nick majored in Science, Technology, and Society with a focused depth in Mechanical Engineering. He studied abroad in Madrid and is fluent in Spanish, in addition to his working knowledge of a number of computer programming languages. Nick’s Stanford coursework in Intro to Human Values in Design and Needfinding laid the groundwork for his interest in the Health for America fellowship. “My career goal is simple: to solve problems that affect the well-being of many,” says Nick. “But one question I couldn’t answer before attending Stanford was just how to do that. Through the interdisciplinary program in Science, Technology, and Society, I was able to take advantage of Stanford’s incredible d.school classes in design thinking, while at the same time taking classes in political science, ethics, and sociology. And since healthcare is a topic that spans so many spheres, Health for America is the perfect apprenticeship to complement my education.” As a Health for America Fellow, Nick has the opportunity to conceptualize and actualize health technology solutions. The three Fellows working as Nick’s teammates are millennials Ellen Kourakos, Sandra Hwang, and Megan Caldwell.
  • Health for America Fellow, Public Affairs Strategist
    Health for America Fellow, Public Affairs Strategist
    • Health for America Fellow at Health for America
    Megan Caldwell, Indiana University Class of 2012, is a recipient of the Health for America Fellowship. As part of a team of four Fellows, Megan was chosen from a national pool of applicants that included alumni of Brown, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, Cornell, MIT, and dozens of other universities across the country. Megan was selected based on her experience as a health policy consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton and her demonstrated initiative, leadership, and altruism in the non-profit sector. While at Indiana, Megan majored in Policy Analysis and Near Eastern Language and Culture. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs with Honors Notation and authored a thesis on Conflict and Underdevelopment in the Third World with Dr. Sameeksha Desai. Megan studied Arabic for five semesters at both Indiana and The George Washington University. Megan’s leadership in extracurricular activities at Indiana also contributed to her post-graduate success. She was President of the Student Alumni Association, in which she led a 36-member student committee that facilitated programming for over 2,000 members. She interned with the Department of Homeland Security in the summer of 2010, and worked as a state office intern for Senator Dianne Feinstein during the summer of 2009. Up until the start of the Fellowship, Megan worked as a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, which gave her the opportunity to mediate and implement mergers, analyze legislation and regulations, and identify ways for clients to lead health reform efforts. Megan has also shown significant leadership in her work for Ladies America, a national network that aims to connect women personally and professionally. She serves on the Board of Advisors, where she has helped make communication, program development, and implementation more efficient. Megan provides direct assistance to the Founder, CEO, and National Committee on matters of process and strategy. As a Health for America Fellow, Megan has the opportunity to conceptualize and actualize health technology solutions. The three Fellows working as Megan’s teammates are millennials Nick Azpiroz, Ellen Kourakos, and Sandra Hwang.
  • Health for America Fellow, MSPH Candidate in Health Policy at Johns Hopkins
    Health for America Fellow, MSPH Candidate in Health Policy at Johns Hopkins
    • Health for America Fellow at Health for America Fellow
    Sandra Hwang, a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Health Policy candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a recipient of the Health for America Fellowship. As one of four Fellows, Sandra was chosen from a national pool of applicants that included alumni of Brown, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, Cornell, MIT, and dozens of other universities across the country. From fall 2013 until the beginning of the Fellowship, Sandra worked as Special Assistant to CEO Sean Tunis at the Center for Medical Technology Policy in Baltimore. There, she was involved in projects spanning comparative effectiveness research, patient-centered outcomes research, and health technology assessment. In 2012, Sandra interned in Vaccines Access at Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in New York, where she investigated the impact of global vaccine supply constraints on developing countries. She evaluated the programmatic suitability and efficacy of pentavalent and rotavirus vaccines and identified weaknesses in 2012 internal vaccine supply and procurement. Previously, she interned at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where she worked for the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. Sandra is active in public health research, and her papers on reproductive healthcare, cancer, obesity, and other topics have been published in journals such as Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Women’s Health Issues, and more. In 2013, Sandra interned at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, where she assessed potential impact of Affordable Care Act state Medicaid expansion decisions on cancer mortality. While an undergraduate at Cornell University, Sandra led a team of five student designers in the redesign of an emergency department for a hospital client. She delivered a proposal providing evidence-based solutions to barriers in workflow, productivity, functionality of space, and physical and auditory barriers for clinical staff and patients. Sandra holds the honor of being the youngest person to receive The Center for Health Design’s Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC) to date. As a Health for America Fellow, Sandra has the opportunity to conceptualize and actualize health technology solutions. The three Fellows working as Sandra’s teammates are millennials Megan Caldwell, Nick Azpiroz, and Ellen Kourakos. The four Fellows were selected for their leadership in design, technology, entrepreneurship, and community service, and will work together over the course of one year to create and implement a health solution.
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