Joshua Coan '24

#PolicyProfile: Joshua Coan ’24

Feb 17 2023
By Brittany N. Murray
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

I took a gap year after high school and had the chance to play semi-pro volleyball in the Netherlands for a few months. Volleyball is a big part of my life and my identity. Getting to play at the collegiate level on the @PrincetonVolley team is such an amazing honor. It allows me to stay active and stay healthy, but also, it fosters a sense of community.

When I was in sixth grade, I had a sports injury that required surgery on my ankle. The doctor had a great impact on me and sparked my interest in healthcare. I'd always been interested in science, and as I got older, I wanted to be in a profession where my main goal was helping others.

"I want to go to work every day and positively impact the lives of the people that I'm working with."
Joshua Coan ’24

The pandemic played a big role in my interest in public health and global health, and SPIA is really opening my eyes to what the healthcare system really looks like — diving into health inequities and social determinants of health. After my first year at @PrincetonSPIA, I did an internship at a neighborhood center in my hometown of Rochester, NY. It had a health clinic, as well as mental health resources, social services, and a dentist who came and volunteered. It was a one-stop shop for the underinsured and uninsured in Rochester, and I got to see firsthand experience of what it's like to be in that situation. This past summer, I did research in health policy and orthopedics, looking at the new Medicare policy for Lower Extremity Major Joint Replacement (Hip and Knee). I spent time looking at how safety net hospitals, which serve a higher percentage of disadvantaged patients who often don't have insurance, are performing under the new policy. I’m still continuing that research and am hoping to get published. I plan to take a year off before entering the med school application cycle, so I’m exploring different disciplines within SPIA to see what I may want to focus on in that year. Having a more holistic view of health is going to make me a better practitioner.

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