PHutures – 100 Alumni Voices »

Sonal Parasrampuria

“I think sometimes it takes a really long time to figure out what you’re interested in, and sometimes you just have to kind of pivot as you get new information and find new people to work with.”

Bloomberg School of Public Health

Health Policy & Management, PhD 2019

FDA Team Lead at Department of Health and Human Services

Sonal‘s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss the role of mentorship in helping Sonal understand how to combine her interests into a single academic trajectory in health economics and in connecting her with hands-on experience in the policy world, the different ways she tailored her PhD experience to prepare her to land a job working in the federal government, and the diversity of the work she does in her current role as the FDA Team Lead at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Learn More About Sonal‘s Story

One of the most important professional moments of my life was when I was invited to the White House celebration for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in September 2022, which was the culmination of years of work that started when I was a graduate student. One of my dissertation papers sought to inform provisions that were in the eventual IRA and taught me many of the skills needed for policy research. After graduate school, I transitioned to working for HHS where I continued to learn and develop my research and policy skills. Now, I’m one of the drug pricing leads for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in HHS and have the immense privilege to help implement this once-in-a-generation piece of legislation.

When I graduated from the PhD program, the first thing I did was take a month-long trip to Australia and New Zealand with a good friend from my PhD program. I knew I wasn’t going to have another opportunity to take a full month off anytime soon, so we picked the furthest place we could find! Not only was it an amazing trip and a great way to celebrate such an important achievement, it was also a capstone for our friendship. Friends were imperative to having fun and learning more in the PhD program and all areas of life, and it was great to have the graduation trip also celebrate the importance of those friendships.