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Institute for Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Theresa Simpson
Project L/EARN Intern - 2003
Theresa Simpson
Examining Willingness to Use Free Clinics: Disparities in Primary Care between Racial and Ethnic Groups
Dorothy Gaboda, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Data Analysis
Center for State Health Policy

Theresa became an intern her senior year at University College, at Rutgers University. She chose her Public Health major due to its multidisciplinary nature. She feels this will maximize her options for her future aspirations to earn a Ph.D. in Public Health with a focus on health care policy in order to best facilitate changes among under-served populations.

At the age of 28, Theresa was fearful that her age would hinder her experience that summer, but her anxiety was allayed due to the equal opportunity to learn from her faculty mentor, Dr. Dorothy Gaboda, the instructional staff and her fellow interns. Instead, she had found that although she has taken several classes in research, the focus on the social sciences and the personal attention she received due to the small class size in Project L/EARN had been especially meaningful. In addition, she had found being able to work with other faculty such as Dr. Susan Brownlee and previous intern, Michele Alvarez, at the Center for State Health Policy “very helpful.” Following Project L/EARN, Theresa became Teaching Assistant for Dr. Jane Miller’s undergraduate research methods course in Public Health at the Bloustein School.

Her work on primary care disparities by race-ethnicity is quite timely with President Bush’s announcement regarding his willingness to extend federal funds to assist Community Health Clinics. Based on her study, Hispanics are more willing to use free or public health clinics than non-Hispanics.

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