Re-entering the health care field after six years as a stay-at-home mom, Susan Dugan looks to the Certificate Program in Health Advocacy to supplement her Master of Social Work and Master of Public Policy degrees. Because the curriculum is at the forefront of the field, Dugan knows she’s getting the most current knowledge. “There are no established requirements for this career, so class content is evolving with the field and the health care advocates populating it,” Dugan explains.
While focusing on her chosen career path, Dugan also uses information learned in class to help coordinate her aging mother’s health care. “I recently took Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions, taught by a Ph.D. in the UCSF School of Medicine,” she says. “We were provided a simple decision-making tool to assist our clients in making difficult health-related decisions. I applied the tool with my mother in a very difficult health treatment option, and her answer was quite clear. This tool is beneficial because it ensures consistency in how an advocate practices, which lends legitimacy to the field.”
With certificate soon in hand, Dugan plans to return to where her health career began—Capitol Hill—to formulate policy from a health advocate perspective. “There is no better opportunity for this than to work as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill assisting constituents with their health care concerns,” she says.