Student Successes

Rizwana Biviji

Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management

What degree are you working toward?

I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management at IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health

Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?

While I was working at the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) as an Epidemiologist, I became aware of the Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management (HPM) degree offered at IUPUI. IUPUI has an excellent reputation of equipping students with the skills and tools that are required to be adequately prepared for distinction at work. The Department of HPM provides an exemplary academic and research environment along with a robust faculty that prepares students to conduct health policy & management research as well as translate, apply, and communicate these findings to improve the general public’s health. Further, the school has several academic and community partners such as the IU School of Medicine, Regenstrief Institute, and the local and state health departments, which helps facilitate a collaborative learning experience. Due to this active collaboration, I was offered an internship opportunity at IU School of Medicine, which was extremely enriching both personally and professionally. I firmly believe that my decision to embark on this journey has been rewarded in good measure as it has shaped me as a well-rounded health professional.

What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?

Throughout my coursework, I was able to partake in a number of service learning opportunities such as conducting a formative evaluation for the Julian Center Circles program, conducting a qualitative study to assess the nutritional needs of the patrons at Horizon House homeless shelter, and participating in events organized by the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force. Along with my studies, I work for the school as an Associate Instructor where I teach several graduate and undergraduate health policy courses. My natural penchant for teaching has been thoroughly honed by the experience I have received from my work here, in terms of leading a class, grading papers, managing a class, and engaging students in class discussions and activities. Further, due to Dr. Kathryn Coe and Dr. Cynthia Stone’s excellent mentorship, I could present some of our work at various national and local conferences, along with delivering guest lectures on various health policy topics. In addition, active collaborations with my peers at school has resulted in a few peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals.

Indianapolis is a culturally diverse yet an extremely welcoming and friendly city. As an international student, I found it very easy to make friends, maneuver around, and quickly become acquainted with the people and the place.

What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?

Indianapolis is a culturally diverse yet an extremely welcoming and friendly city. As an international student, I found it very easy to make friends, maneuver around, and quickly become acquainted with the people and the place. Indy's attractions include the beautiful canal, the grand state capitol building, war memorial and Indy 500 stadium. In addition, I am fortunate to have good proximity to downtown Indianapolis, the University, and the international airport, which enables me to balance my professional and personal life with ease. In the past 4 years, Indianapolis has become a home away from home.

Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.

I am currently actively advancing my dissertation. The overarching goal of my dissertation is to evaluate the quality of information provided to women by the mobile health apps geared towards maternal and child health. Increasingly women are using digital technologies such as mobile apps for their information needs during the prenatal period. However, along with their increasing popularity there are growing concerns regarding the quality of information provided by these apps. Considering the ubiquity of mobile phones and the increased usage of healthcare apps for information seeking and disease self-management, this study has important implications mainly due to the fact that the mobile health environment is highly unregulated. My excellent panel of mentors, namely Dr. Christopher Harle, Dr. Joshua Vest and Dr. Brian Dixon, are providing me with invaluable inputs and are actively guiding me through this process

Academic Awards:

  • Recipient of Indiana University School of Medicine Graduate Fellowship to pursue Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management.
  • Recipient of Graduate Student Travel Grant Award from the IUPUI Graduate Office, and Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

University Participations:

  • PhD Student Association, Vice President, 2015-2016.
  • Public Health Corps Member, 2015-2016.
  • Facilitator: Protect our Patients Community Health Forum held at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, February 2017.
  • Moderator: World Food Program at the Indianapolis Model United Nations 2013 Conference held at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, March 2013.