UCLA School of Public Health Field Studies Program

Community Health Sciences

Field Placement: Insure the Uninsured Project
Santa Monica, CA
Veronica Richardson
Student Name: Sofia Sojourner-Nelson
Year: 2005

My field studies began in June 2005 as an intern for Insure the Uninsured Project. Over the course of the summer I worked a total of 400 hours under the direction of Veronica Richardson.

Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) was established in 1996 and is funded by The California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment, and the Blue Shield of California Foundation. They identify, assist, and promote new approaches to expand health care and coverage for California's uninsured. The project focuses on developing common ground and establishing connections of interested and influential parties to bring about public and private health care reform.

Through its workgroups and annual conference, ITUP serves as a forum for healthcare leaders to discuss approaches to increase coverage for the uninsured. ITUP performs data collection, research, and analysis on a variety of health care issues, while studying how these issues affect California's uninsured. In addition, ITUP educates state policy makers, health plans, employers, unions, community groups, providers and other public and private entities on current health care issues.

My internship project entailed creating a 10-year trend report on the uninsured in California. The 10-year report is an expansion of the regular reports that come out each year for 48 of California's counties and eight regions in the state. To provide some background, ITUP publishes data for each county on four general areas: 1) A background on the demographics and insurance coverage of a county's residents, 2) Utilization and funding of community clinics, 3) Utilization and funding of hospitals, and 4) Current premium information for small group and individual policies. These individual county and regional reports have taken about 8-10 months to complete and are done so on a staggered basis so that not all reports have to be done at once.

The objective of the county and regional reports are to provide a background context and data for stakeholders in their informational and decision-making processes, such as deciding what areas to prioritize in terms of funding, policy-making, advocacy, etc. Many of the workgroup attendees have mentioned that they would like to see trend data over a course of a few years to see if there are any patterns that should be called to their attention. Such patterns may involve senior uninsured rates and barriers to access. The ten year trend report fills this information gap for policy makers and healthcare workers in California.

Although the majority of my time at ITUP was spent on researching and writing the ten year trend report, I did have two additional duties. The first was my attendance and assistance with two regional workgroups. The second was a literature review for a report on health care disparities in California, which I would have liked to complete if given more time.

Overall, my experience at ITUP was enlightening and educational. I learned a great deal about health policy, politics and legislation from ITUP’s staff and I thoroughly enjoyed my field studies experience.


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