Hannah James

Hannah James
PhD in Health Services Research ’24


Undergraduate Institution: Cornell University – Human Biology, Health & Society Major, Global Health Minor
Graduate Institution: Harvard Chan School of Public Health – Master of Science in Global Health and Population

Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
I chose the Brown University School of Public Health because of the emphasis on mentorship and an alignment with my research interests among the faculty. I was looking for a training environment where faculty would be invested in my success as a researcher and a whole person, and I have been fortunate to experience that since committing to Brown.

What makes Brown's program different from other programs you considered?
Brown’s program stood out to me because it allows students to follow their interests and to structure their own course of study in a way that will best support their goals. I have benefitted from the support of faculty to pursue my interests and to design a curriculum that will allow me to complete the program with the skills I need to be successful in my career. I also appreciated the opportunity to get involved in faculty-mentored research from the beginning.

What do you enjoy most about your program?
The collaborative spirit and support I have felt from students and faculty alike! Of the programs I considered, I felt that the faculty at Brown would be my biggest supporters throughout my training. Since matriculating at Brown, I have personally experienced that support and have been grateful to have mentors and peers by my side for the inevitable ups and downs of a PhD program.

What is your academic area of interest and why?
I am most interested in the financing, affordability, and value of health care and health insurance. I have a special interest in policy evaluation and translating research into evidence-based health policy. I am motivated to do this work because we have a serious health care cost problem in the United States, and I am committed to improving the efficiency of the health care system while maintaining/improving quality and reducing inequities.

What are your postgraduate goals/plans?
My goal is to pursue a career that allows me to improve the functioning of the care delivery system. I would like to do this by contributing to the identification, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based health policy. There are lots of different settings where I could do this work, but I am currently interested in pursuing roles in government, academia, and integrated care delivery systems.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
Talk to current students (at various levels of the program) and faculty for any program you are considering. Make choices that are aligned with your values and goals, and know your “why” for pursuing a PhD – it will make your experience so much more meaningful and purposeful wherever you go!