By Meghana Sai Iragavarapu, Health Law and Policy Clinic (HLPC) Student, Fall 2023
Throughout the semester, my clinic experience with the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) has been rich with accomplishments that have not only challenged me but also contributed significantly to my personal and professional growth.
My projects were varied and comprehensive, starting with an in-depth analysis of the health, political, and economic factors that shape Food is Medicine (FIM) policy decisions in Alaska.
My involvement in client meetings, both with Alaska and Oklahoma, saw me taking detailed minutes and summaries. These exercises sharpened my attention to detail and ability to capture essential discussions, a skill that is crucial in the legal field. Crafting a memo on the Indian Health Services’ Produce Prescription pilots required me to understand and summarize complex initiatives, further deepening my grasp of healthcare policies.
Perhaps one of the most engaging tasks was developing questions for the keynote fireside chat with Catherine Oakar, Special Assistant to the President for Public Health and Disparities, for CHLPI and Community Serving’s 10th Annual Food is Medicine Symposium. This required a blend of research and creativity to foster an engaging dialogue. Lastly, creating a detailed research outline for our final presentations on Alaska and Oklahoma FIM initiatives honed my skills in structuring and organizing complex information efficiently. Then, drafting slides and speaker notes for the landscaping presentations demanded an understanding of both substance and form. It was here that I learned to balance comprehensiveness with clarity, ensuring that each slide communicated a coherent message within the time constraints of the presentation. The development of these materials underscored a broader growth in my abilities to navigate legal resources. Initially unfamiliar platforms like Medicaid.gov became indispensable tools, as did statutory sources.
Throughout the semester, I came to understand the varied expertise of state coalition team members. Learning to tailor presentations to such a diverse audience was challenging, but it forced me to refine my communication and to present complex Medicaid policies in a way that was accessible to all.
Overall, my clinic experience was transformative, cementing my decision to apply to law school. The mentorship from my supervisor Erika, the hands-on experience with state coalitions, and the real-world impact of our recommendations fueled my passion for becoming a public health lawyer. This work has not only refined my analytical and presentation skills but has also affirmed my belief in the power of law to effect positive change in public health.