SCEA Member Spotlight: Meera Talati, MHA
- University of Southern California – Master of Health Administration, focus in health finance
- University of California, San Diego – Bachelor of Science in Public Health
What is your current position(s) and what do you do?
I am a recent graduate of the Master of Health Administration program at USC. As a student, I worked as the Operational Excellence and Process Improvement Resident at AltaMed Health Services, an FQHC. As a resident, I carried out research and evaluation activities for various clinic projects and community health programs. This included analyzing patient demographic data for over 350,000 patients, providing background research on projects, and writing reports with key findings for primary care programs. For example, one of my favorite projects I worked on was helping to evaluate the need for a teleophthalmology program for children in the Los Angeles and Orange County area. The primary goal of this program was to increase access to ophthalmology services for underserved children.
What led you to the field of evaluation?
I was introduced to the field of evaluation while working as a Research Associate at a children’s hospital in San Diego. Here I provided evaluation support through data analysis and quality assurance for a First 5 behavior and development program. In that position, I learned the importance of program evaluation and how it can be used to improve a program and increase the number of families we could help. I believe evaluation is critical in the healthcare industry and is often overlooked.
What has been your favorite moment in your career so far?
My favorite moment in my career is getting to work and learn from experienced evaluators. They have taught me so much and I would not be in this field today without them! They showed me what evaluation is and how it can be used in a health setting. If it weren’t for the evaluators that I met, I would not be as involved in the field today.
What motivates you at work?
I am motivated by helping people. My background in public health has shown me how vital evaluation can be in the health field. As I look for a career, it is my goal to find something to help increase access to quality care for underserved communities. I want to make sure whatever organization I work for will be able to have a positive impact on the world around me.
If you could give advice to young professionals in evaluation, what would it be?
As a young professional, my advice would be to find a mentor or someone in the evaluation field that you can learn from. Learning from others can help you with your career path and give you more insight into the industry. I am still relatively new to the evaluation field, so being able to talk to experienced evaluators has helped me solidify my career path and what I want to do in the future.
What are your favorite resources for evaluators?
- https://www.cdc.gov/eval/resources/index.htm – This provides a great guide and overview of public health evaluation.
- https://www.canva.com/create/infographics/ – Canva is useful for making infographics and data visuals. It can be so helpful when trying to make data more usable for your audience.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I love to garden. My current apartment has over 70 plants inside and I have started a vegetable garden now that spring has come.