Congressional fellow heads for Capitol Hill
Today, Nilofar “Nellie” Jafari begins a new and important phase in her tenure as 2017-18 ACCP/ASHP/VCU Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow. She has been selected to work in the office of U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). Murphy is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) as well as the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.
“I am very pleased to be placed in Sen. Murphy’s office,” Jafari said. “Being in an office committed to health care policy was important to me. He is at the forefront of health care issues, including mental health and addiction. I feel that my background as a pharmacist will bring value to the office, especially in the realm of the opioid epidemic.”
Jafari holds a multidisciplinary master of public health degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctor of pharmacy degree from VCU School of Pharmacy.
Kristin Zimmerman, director of the Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow program, says Congressional office responsibilities have typically included researching and writing briefs on health care issues and assisting with policy analyses and drafting memoranda, floor speeches and questions for panelists at Congressional hearings. Other job duties have included planning, organizing and contributing to the senator or representative’s office policy and management issues for the year.
“Congressional placement is the most integral part of the fellow experience,” Zimmerman said. “We are delighted that Nellie will be working in such a key office for health care issues.”
Before joining Murphy’s office, Jafari’s preparation included a week at the Brookings Institute. There, she had the opportunity to witness the legislative process first-hand, observe floor action in the House and Senate and hear from Congress and expert speakers on national policy issues. “It was a great foundation for my congressional office placement,” she said.
Jafari also worked with the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists for three weeks. “Being integrated into their government relations teams allowed me to digest the health care issues impacting pharmacy,” she said. “I wrote several issue briefs for the organizations and heard from members how certain regulations are affecting them.
“It was fascinating for me to see the dynamics between an association and congressional offices as well as the politics, advocacy and persistence it takes to see an agenda pushed forward.”
Jafari will work on Capitol Hill through next August.