From the White Coat to the White House: University of Utah health doctor joins prestigious fellowship program

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Julie Kiefer

Associate Director, Scientific Communications, University of Utah Health
E-mail: julie.kiefer@hsc.utah.edu
Call: 801-587-1293

Sep 14, 2022 3:00 PM

Jeffrey Nadel, MD, MS, neurosurgery resident at Utah Health University, has worked across the biomedical spectrum – from translational brain cell research in the laboratory to clinical and health services research , international public health, and health economics and policy.

But this fall, he’ll hang up his white coat and instead don a pressed suit every day for the next year in Washington, D.C., among 15 people named by President Joe Biden in the 2022-2023 class of scholarship recipients. the White House. .

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to serve as a member of the White House,” Nadel said. “I look forward to a year of growth in the public service while gaining invaluable leadership experience at the highest levels of the federal government.

Founded in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the White House Fellowship is a nonpartisan leadership development program that provides valuable first-hand experience for White House staff, cabinet secretaries, and other senior officials. .

While the primary focus is to gain full-time work experience at the highest levels of the federal government, the fellowship also maintains a strong academic and educational aspect, with formal seminars twice a week with leaders from across the country. Fellows will also undertake domestic and international travel to study American politics in action.

For nearly six decades, fellows from a wide range of fields have used their diverse backgrounds to enrich the study and development of public policy. While many medical professionals served, that group included only four other neurosurgeons, including Sanjay K. Gupta, MD, chief medical correspondent for CNN.

A native of Centennial, Colorado, Nadel earned his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with minors in Latin American studies and biochemistry from Colorado College as a Boettcher Fellow. He earned an MD and an MD from the University of Michigan with Honors and Research Distinction as a Dean’s Merit Scholar. He was also elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism Honor Societies before beginning his residency in 2019.

Jeffrey Nadel, MD, University of Utah Health Neurosurgery Resident and White House Fellow.
Jeffrey Nadel, MD, University of Utah Health Neurosurgery Resident and White House Fellow Photo Credit: Vance Mortimer

Nadel will spend the fourth year of his residency, usually devoted to academic research, in Washington, DC, which will allow him to continue his residency next year without interruption. Nadel is grateful to William Couldwell, MD, Ph.D., chair of the department of neurosurgery, and Randy Jensen, MD, Ph.D., vice president of education and former director of the residency program at the University of Utah Health, for supporting his Goals.

“Jeff is a highly valued and respected member of our residency program, so it’s no surprise to our group that he was chosen for this exceptional opportunity as a member of the White House,” Jensen said. “We know he will represent us well in this elite role, which will position him to be a leader in health care policy and reform in the future.”

Nadel chose to continue his training at the University of Utah, thinking it would set him apart from others in the field. He notes that the camaraderie within the residency class provides a great community in which to work and train. Meanwhile, the breadth and depth of clinical experience and research allow residents to find their neurosurgical home.

Nadel is passionately focused on eliminating health care disparities through research and creating a strong social infrastructure to ensure equitable access. He has led health interventions both at home and abroad for vulnerable populations in the United States, Uganda and Costa Rica.

“I will serve my White House Fellowship in the Department of Veterans Affairs, supporting both the Secretary and the Undersecretary of Health in our sacred mission to provide the best and fastest access to health care of the highest quality to those who fought for the freedom of our nation,” says Nadel.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, he was officially selected after a year-long application process and several rounds of interviews. Nadel was cleaned up in a surgical case when the nurse told him he had received a phone call from the 202 area code in Washington, DC.

“As someone who is rarely speechless, the news took my breath away,” recalls Nadel. “What a great opportunity. I couldn’t be more grateful.

This won’t be Nadel’s first time dealing with politicians or living in Washington, D.C. Prior to medical school, Nadel worked as a health economics and policy researcher at the Brookings Institution, where he honed his interests in the health care financing and policy. He was also a member of the NIH Academy on Health Disparities, where he gained didactic and practical experience in promoting health equity and social justice. Currently, in addition to managing the physical and mental demands of his residency, Nadel serves on the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Utah Medical Society.

Public service has long been an integral part of Nadel’s medical vision, and he views this fellowship opportunity as another step toward his goal of advancing equity in health care.

“As physicians, we have the unique opportunity to not only work at the bedside, but also to advance the principles of health care access and equity through our academic and civic activities,” says Nadel. . “On the contrary, working in healthcare during a global pandemic has taught me that no one should be left out. Through the collaborative and multidisciplinary training of the White House Fellowship, I aim to hone my leadership skills and serve our community and country now and in the future.

Learn more about the 2022-2023 class of White House Scholars.

– Written by Kamryn Broschinsky

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