What surprises you about working for the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York?
The pace. I suspected it would be a high-paced environment before taking the job, but had no idea how intense it can be. Emails are flying nearly 24 hours a day, and it's not easy to keep up. It's particularly challenging working on both long term policy projects while dealing with short term emergencies that arise.
Even with all that, I am surprised at how much I enjoy the job. It's truly a gift to be able to wake up every day with a mandate to promote public health in New York City.
The people. The dedication of public servants is what drew me to a career in the public sector, and I have not been disappointed. You can feel the excitement from your co-workers about wanting to work for the public good.
What will you be teaching at the School of Public Affairs? What do you hope to accomplish here?
I will be teaching Healthcare Politics and Policy. I hope to be able to teach students that the public's health is something that should concern us all. 80% of health outcomes are attributable to non-healthcare delivery services and that addressing the social determinants of health – including access to healthy food, safe housing and economic opportunities – will make the greatest difference. Thus, health touches all public policy professionals – not just those who practice "health policy." I hope that students pursuing public sector careers will keep that in mind no matter where their career leads.
How did you first get into politics and litigation?
I became interested in litigation while in law school; all the great work we were studying in law school - Brown v. Board of Education, etc. - emanated from litigation. And I wanted to be a part of that. I came to politics later in my career. My first major election was 2004, when I felt passionately that a change in course in our country was needed. I signed up to work on John Kerry's presidential campaign and never looked back.