Vinny Szczerowski is a linked-student in Michigan State University’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program who will complete his degree in 2017. Being a linked student, Vinny graduated in December 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy while concurrently working on his master’s degree.
Vinny has spent this summer interning at Northern Strategies 360. Located in Traverse City, Michigan, Northern Strategies 360 offers consulting services to clients throughout Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The mission of the firm is to provide strategic, pragmatic, results-driven consulting services to their clients with a focus on business and economic development and governmental affairs. According to Vinny, what sets Northern Strategies 360 apart from other consulting firms is their desire to form a close relationship with their clients to effectively and efficiently act as a liaison between business and government. Being the first of its kind in Northern Michigan, he was especially enthused about working for the firm. Vinny was born and raised in the small town of Hawks in Northern Michigan and has seen firsthand the difficulties businesses and other entities face when trying to procure adequate representation for government affairs. Northern Strategies 360 offers this close-to-home representation for any interested clients.
With his interest in health policy, Vinny has been primarily working on projects directly related to the Munson Healthcare System. As the firm’s biggest client, Munson Healthcare is a nonprofit rural regional health system made up of nine community hospitals that deliver a broad array of healthcare services to the nearly 500,000 residents of 24 counties across the 11,000 square miles of rural Northern Michigan. Some projects that Vinny has been working for them include crafting advocacy updates on current legislation pending at the state and national level that directly affect the system, writing policy briefs on specific proposals already enacted and how they will impact the hospital network, and communicating with local, state, and federal lawmakers on behalf of Munson Healthcare. Two major projects he has focused on involve constructing whitepapers on veterans’ access to healthcare services in Northern Michigan and the status and trends of educational attainment levels for nurses. While the nursing paper is still being formulated, the veterans’ access to healthcare piece has been presented to and referenced by the CEO of the Munson Healthcare System when addressing local interest groups.
Through his internship, Vinny has learned that healthcare policy is even more nuanced than he had previously thought. One rule set forth by a state or federal agency can have enormous ramifications on the operations of a hospital or healthcare system. Going forward, he believes this lesson will greatly help in his pursuit of working within a healthcare system as a government affairs liaison or consultant.