Getting to Know: Kelsie Majercak, Research Intern

Following is a Q&A to get to know Kelsie Majercak, Research Intern, who began working at the National Health Council (NHC) in August 2020.

Putting Patients First (PPF) Blog: You started working at the NHC during the COVID-19 pandemic. What drew you to this internship?

I was looking to repurpose my PharmD degree and expand my skills to include research and policy. The NHC was the perfect place for me to do this. I love the NHC’s mission of providing a united voice for those living with chronic diseases and disabilities. Also, the values of integrity, collaboration, and transparency resonate with me. I believe integrity is so powerful because it serves as a backbone for developing strong, positive, long-lasting relationships. As Brené Brown wrote in her book, Rising Strong, “integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” That’s what the NHC does and it’s a privilege to work with colleagues who have the same passion for helping improve patient lives.

PPF Blog: Since starting at the NHC, you have been involved in several different research projects for the Programs Team. Which have you enjoyed the most and why?

My primary responsibility is related to developing the NHC’s Patient Experience Mapping Toolbox. The resources in the Toolbox are intended to assist researchers in understanding all facets of patients’ experiences living with a chronic condition — capturing the patient’s journey from pre-diagnosis to receiving the diagnosis to where they are today. My background is in clinical pharmacy, and this patient engagement project is very interesting and meaningful. 

PPF Blog: What’s your favorite part about interning at the NHC?

Although I’ve only been at the NHC for a couple months and working remotely, I would say there are two things that stand out. One, the people. It’s incredible the dedication to help patients, the work they are able to accomplish, and how welcoming and willing to help everyone is…it’s very much like a family. And two, the variety. I have the opportunity to learn about patient engagement, value, real world evidence, research, and policy through our various programs and research projects. It’s also been a great educational opportunity for me as I’ve learned a lot about patient engagement research and health literacy, but also about the research process, including institutional review-board submission.

PPF Blog: Building on your experiences at the NHC, what would you like to do in the future?

With my extensive clinical experience and experiences at the NHC, I would love to do more work with Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs), Real World Evidence, and Health Literacy. I have learned so much already and yet, there is still a lot to learn. I feel like I have stepped into a whole new world and see a lot of potential to help improve the lives of patients and serve as the voice of the patient.

PPF Blog: Tell us something about you personally. What do you do outside of work?

I enjoy being physically active– running, hiking with my dog, yoga, rock climbing, scuba, and traveling. I have completed a 50k trail race, traveled to 14 different countries, and am a certified yoga teacher. I have an upcoming scuba trip to Belize that I am very excited about. I also like to read, listen to podcasts, go to concerts, and learn new things.