Bishnu Thapa

Bishnu Thapa
PhD in Health Services Research ’22


Undergraduate Institution: Harvard College, Economics
Graduate Institution: Princeton University, Master in Public Affairs

Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
One of the main reasons I chose Brown is because I wanted to combine global health research with research on U.S. healthcare, and the school provides me with all of the resources I need to make that happen. The reputation of the faculty, the program, and the University as a whole were additional considerations. The best part about the school is the people – students, staff and the faculty. Everyone in the school genuinely cares about you, both professionally and personally, and wants you to be the best you can be. Prior to coming here, I had the notion that being a PhD student is about working all the time and having very limited social life. I would say that this is quite accurate. I also had the notion that being a PhD student means being miserable all the time. This has fortunately not been true in my case. I thoroughly enjoyed my first year, and am looking forward to the next few years. I am thankful to the people around me!

What makes Brown's program different from other programs you considered?
There are a number of things that are unique to Brown’s HSR PhD program. The first is the small and intimate cohort size. Not only does this ensure quality mentorship from faculty members but also allows students to get to know each other really well. I know I can knock on any faculty member’s door for advice and suggestions. Second, I like the fact that health economics is offered as one of the concentrations. Third, as is typical at Brown, our department has immense flexibility in terms of taking classes at other departments. For example, my friends and I have taken classes at the economics department, education policy department, and sociology department. I feel that such opportunities enable us to get a truly holistic public health education.

What do you enjoy most about your program?
I really enjoy spending time with people in my program and the cohort, and bouncing around research ideas. I enjoy participating in weekly research seminars as well as the journal club. 

What is your academic area of interest and why?
My interest lies in using health economics tools to study health policy issues that pertain to both the U.S. and abroad. I am generally interested in studying the health of — and healthcare for — vulnerable populations. I would like to work with issues around health financing, health systems strengthening, NCDs, health insurance, and health disparities.

What are your postgraduate goals/plans?
After I graduate, I hope to do applied health policy work in academic or non-academic settings. At the moment, my only goal is to get the best training I can get to become a solid researcher. 

Why Providence?
Providence is a great place to study public health mainly because the Brown School of Public Health has a very strong partnership and collaboration with the Rhode Island health community (including the Rhode Island Department of Health). The physical proximity of the School with prominent state health actors makes it especially easy to access resources within the state. I love the food scene in Providence and I enjoy running at nearby India Point Park, right by the river. I also like the fact that Providence is close enough to a big city (i.e., Boston).

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
You will love it here!

Learn more about Brown's PhD in Health Services Research