Madhuri Jha, MSW/MPH ’15, graduated from George Washington University with a degree in International Affairs. Before coming to NYU Silver, she worked in Washington, DC, for Family Health International, which operates AIDS initiatives in the United States and abroad and is funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Jha and her colleagues oversaw the building of support programs in the Dominican Republic and South Africa. Her work included proposal development, administrative projects, budget management, coordination of field teams abroad, and field visits to both countries.
A personal experience with medical trauma gave Jha an interest in public health and a desire to help empower patients to ask the questions that will yield the best medical care. She decided to return to school to pursue her Master’s in Public Health, but was drawn to NYU’s dual-degree program with the Silver School of Social Work because of its reputation and the potential for learning clinical practice in New York City. Her mother, a social worker herself, also served as a source of inspiration. "I grew up with a role model who applies lots of skills to helping people," Jha explains. After working for Family Health International, a large nonprofit where she felt detached from the people she served due to a lack of clinical experience, Jha decided that learning social work skills would be invaluable for her public health career.
Jha has found direct practice so rewarding and informative that she elected to stick with a clinical setting for her second-year placement. (MPH/MSW students are typically placed in a more macro-setting for their Advanced Concentration year). She interns at Lincoln Hospital (a City hospital in the Bronx) as part of the Crime Victims Assistance Interdisciplinary Team, assisting victims of assault, rape, and domestic violence. In addition to visiting with patients and their families ("secondary victims"), Jha provides legal advocacy and works with the District Attorney’s office and NYPD to secure orders of protection for her clients. She finds this clinical work challenging but engaging, and has developed a genuine interest in understanding how the inpatient realm of medical care operates. Jha hopes to use the direct practice techniques she is amassing as a clinical foundation for her post-graduate work in public health, ideally serving interdisciplinary teams in hospitals, training nurses and physicians to communicate more effectively with their patients.
Jha is an able multi-tasker and an exemplary model of balance. In addition to juggling two course loads and a full-time field placement, she sits on the board of Silver’s Social Justice and Diversity Committee, which discusses ways to implement the School’s social justice and diversity mandate. When not attending classes, board, meetings, or field placement, she "stays sane" through participating in an outside hip-hop choreography and dance group and can often be seen around campus toting a book bag in one hand and a dance bag in the other. For Jha, it seems, more is more.
By Penelope Yates, MSW ’16