The In’s and Out’s of Networking

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BowdenpictureBy Steve Bowden

Networking in Washington, DC

Networking can often lead to a successful job search. According to U.S. News & World Report, over 70 percent of people obtain jobs as a result of networking. Fortunately for MPH in Health Policy students at George Washington University, there are many opportunities to network in the Washington, D.C. area. Since moving to Washington, DC in October 2013, I have dedicated a lot of time to networking with the goal of building a career in health policy. Here are several ways that I would suggest GW MPH in Health Policy students go about developing their network while they are attending graduate school in Washington, D.C.

Attend Non-Profit and Think Tank Events

Washington, D.C. non-profit organizations and think tanks often hold events that discuss healthcare-related issues and are attended by people who work in the field of health policy. The Alliance for Health Reform regularly holds panel discussions that feature health policy experts and tackle a wide range of healthcare issues. The Alliance’s events are widely attended by health policy stakeholders, and they are excellent opportunities to meet and greet people who have well-established health policy careers. Admission to the Alliance’s events is free, and people who are interested in going to these events can learn more about them and register to attend them at the Alliance’s website.

The website Linktank aggregates information about non-profit and think tank events in the Washington, DC area. It sends out an e-mail every week with notifications about upcoming events regarding a wide range of fields, including health policy. These events may provide MPH in Health Policy students with the chance to meet others who work in the field of health policy. Persons who would like to subscribe to Linktank’s emails about events in Washington, D.C. can do so by visiting its website.

Join a Healthcare-Oriented Organization

D.C. is home to healthcare-oriented organizations whose members network at social events, professional events, and volunteer events. The D.C. Society of Health Policy Young Professionals organizes networking events, panel discussions regarding health policy issues, and professional development forums. At GW’s School of Public Health, the Public Health Student Association, the Health Policy Student Association, The Black Public Health Student Network, and the Interdisciplinary Student Community-Oriented Prevention Enhancement Service organization all provide MPH in Health Policy students with avenues to build their networks within the university.


GW MPH in Health Policy students have the opportunity to intern throughout the year in the Washington, D.C. area. Spending several months as an intern can help them improve their resumes and develop and maintain contacts that may later help them find a job.

Informational Interviews

Students who are interested in learning more about a particular job and improving their network may benefit from conducting informational interviews with people who work in fields that are of interest to them. By conducting informational interviews with individuals who have jobs they may eventually like to have, you may be able to learn about how to achieve career goals and build connections with people who might be able to help towards these ends.

My Own Experience

I encourage GW MPH in health policy students to network while in Washington, D.C. in part because I have benefited from my own networking in the D.C. area. I believe that I received a job interview from one D.C. organization and the opportunity to test for another job at a different organization directly as a result of networking. The informational interviews I have conducted with health policy professionals in Washington, D.C. have had a significant positive impact on my efforts to build a career in health policy, including my decision to attend GW.


Steve Bowden is a first year MPH in Health Policy student at George Washington University. He currently works as a research assistant for the Health Information & the Law project, which is a website devoted to translating and distilling complex state and federal laws related to the use, collection, and exchange of health information. Previously he has interned for Enroll America and two different members of the U.S. House of Representatives.


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