By Maddie Dill
Vinson Fellow Blog Post 2 - Maddie Dill
As a Vinson Fellow this semester, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about the many facets of creating and implementing public policy. My interests lie in the intersection of education and health, and I feel fortunate to have found a topic that fits perfectly into this overlap.
A recent study found that over 500,000 children in Georgia are not eligible for public insurance programs like Medicaid and PeachCare and whose parents cannot afford dental care, thus leaving a significant gap in coverage. With the help of faculty mentor Paula Sanford, I explored the feasibility of providing dental care in public schools around the state of Georgia to help bridge this coverage gap. Through quantitative evaluation as well as interviews with education and health officials, I sought to determine if dental clinics and programs could work effectively, and if so what type of clinic or program would be best.
In addition to furthering my understanding of healthcare and education, this project taught me about research methodology, especially qualitative research. I am also grateful that this project reminded me that although policy issues are complex and often have no easy solution, there are many people out there who are working diligently to improve outcomes for individuals and communities. These lessons will serve me well in future policy research, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow.
Since I began my fellowship in August, my respect for the work done by the Institute has only grown. It has been an honor and a privilege to meet such leaders in governance and public service and to see the tangible impacts they are having on communities and the world. I am so glad to have been a Fellow this semester and have immensely enjoyed this learning experience.
Maddie Dill is a junior from Atlanta, majoring in anthropology and Spanish while pursuing a master of public administration degree. She serves as chief of staff with UGA Miracle, is an Honors Program teaching assistant and a head tutor with the Whatever It Takes program.