The Eric Eichler ’57 Fellowship for Health Care Leaders is a one-year fellowship that includes one-on-one mentorship with senior faculty and researchers at The Dartmouth Institute to guide your exploration of research, policy or health outcomes improvement work.
#FellowsFriday individually features each of the ten Eichler Fellows and the projects they are working on with their mentors.
My name is Jessica Kobsa, and I am a ’20 from Wilton, Connecticut. I am a Psychology major and Biology minor. I am also a Senior Fellow conducting research on an intervention to reduce problematic eating behaviors in adolescents. I tend to be drawn to issues that I feel are too often overlooked, such as care for the elderly, end-of-life decisions, women’s health, and the intersection of mental health with physical health. I feel very passionately that I want to be a clinician applying the knowledge and tools of medicine to positively impact people’s lives.
Clinically, I am especially interested in difficult yet hugely important conversations involving decisions about end-of-life care and palliative care. As a psychology major, I am also interested in how the mind affects our physical health and vice versa. I would argue that principles of psychology can be used to improve just about every human experience there is, including the experience of being a patient and the experience of being a doctor in today’s burnout-breeding environment. My goals pertaining to healthcare are to first understand the needs and perspectives of as many stakeholders as I can and then to use that knowledge to help make structural changes in today’s healthcare system that improve people’s experiences.
I am working with Dr. Robert Santulli, geriatric psychiatrist, on the Dartmouth Dementia Directive Video Project. In this project, we promote the Dartmouth Dementia Directive, an advance directive that allows people to describe their wishes for their medical care specifically at three different stages of dementia. Additionally, we provide interested individuals an opportunity to video record their directive, as evidence suggests that video advance directives are more likely to be followed and are valuable to family members and physicians involved in an individual’s care.
Foundations instilled in me incredible passion to make a difference and ignited my curiosity to learn as much as I can about the needs of the players in today’s healthcare system. I believe that with the right mindset, the willingness to compromise, creativity, and resilience, we can solve some of these problems. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be an Eichler Fellow, and I look forward immensely to this step in my journey.