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Katie Ottman – Washington, D.C.

Katherine Ottman is a public health professional with several years of clinical and administrative healthcare experience. With a background in Anthropology, she has a passion for looking at the big picture—approaching healthcare issues with both creative tools and a sociocultural lens to find innovative solutions. She has particular enthusiasm for projects dedicated to mental health, women’s health, family planning, and vulnerable populations.

Katie, welcome to the Digital Health Today team!

    1. Tell us a bit more about yourself, your background and what you’re doing now.

      Thanks, I’m really excited to be a part of the DigitalHealthToday team! My journey into healthcare began with a background in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary, where I first discovered Medical Anthropology as a field. After working in both clinical and healthcare administrative roles after my undergraduate years, I realized that I loved the challenges of tackling complex healthcare issues on a population level. I decided to pursue my Masters in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where my research focused on mental health interventions in conflict-affected populations. I’m currently continuing in that field of research as a Consultant Research Assistant at George Washington University, supporting review research on EQUIP: Ensuring Quality in Psychological Support, a World Health Organisation workforce development package for psychological interventions.

    2. How did you get involved with digital health?

      My first experience with digital health was when my previous employer, One Medical Group, began piloting a smartphone app interface to complement in-office care. It involved the capability to access a virtual medical team at all hours either via text, email, or video chat, and it was amazingly helpful and efficient for patient care. After that, I started looking up even more developments on how technologies could revolutionize responses to traditional healthcare issues–from drone delivery of medical supplies in humanitarian crises to smartphone apps for chronic disease management, it’s incredible how teams of people from seemingly unrelated backgrounds are coming together and transforming the healthcare landscape!

    3. Tell us about your city and some of the health and technology innovation that’s happening there.

      With research institutions such as Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Johns Hopkins University nearby, Washington, D.C. has been at the forefront of medical research for years. Consulting firms with information systems and technology foci such as Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Mitre, and Perspecta (just to name a few!) have been building and rapidly expanding their healthcare sectors.

    4. What are some of the top things other health innovators should know about your city?

      As the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. is known as a huge hive for policy and international affairs. While it does not have as much of a start-up vibe as other well-known cities in the country, it is full of smaller NGOs and non-profit organizations looking for innovative ways to improve their targeted outcomes. Organizations such as the Global Digital Health Network call D.C. their home, and there are always networking events, workshops, and seminars happening throughout the city! The key is that D.C. is definitely a city of smaller, interconnected webs of networks that overlap in many different capacities; the best way to learn more about new topics is to keep reaching out and talking to as many people as possible about those interests. You never know where those contacts will lead you!

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