Graduates Feature: Sakshi Jain, MIPP ’18

Sakshi Jain standing on a road with a brown hill and blue sky behind her.

What is your current positon?

Sr. Research Analyst, Health Economics, Nutrition International

What attracted you to your program of study at the BSIA?

After my bachelor’s in Economics, I was interested in making a career out of developing robust quantitative analysis to inform policies for international development. As I was looking for a public policy program with a global focus, the MIPP program seemed to be the perfect fit.

What was the most impactful experience you had while completing your graduate degree?

I loved the community at the BSIA! My favorite part about the program was learning about what other students from the MIPP, MAGG and PhD cohorts were working on and the pressing global problems that their work aimed to address! I gained a lot of knowledge on very diverse topics that were outside of my general domain of work – and this helped me gain new perspectives.

Tell us about your job, what do you do?

As a Health Economist, my responsibilities include conducting research, performing quantitative analyses, and creating web-based tools such as the Cost of Not Breastfeeding tool (2022) to influence policy and investments in nutrition. I lead and support the portfolio of the health economics unit to further existing research on the health, human capital, and economic impacts of maternal and newborn nutrition interventions.

How does your work help make a difference?

My organization provides technical guidance to more than 50 countries on low cost-high impact maternal and newborn nutrition interventions. For advocacy efforts, it is imperative to not only show the health impact of such interventions, but also showcase the return on investment that the projected health impact will bring. Cost benefit and cost effectiveness analyses are key to make such proposals competitive when governments have limited funds to allocate for population health.

As an example, in 2020, I produced a series of case studies to showcase the return on investment on sub-national costed nutrition action plans for five counties in Kenya. The results clearly demonstrated the potential high returns on investment of investing in nutrition interventions, and sparked interest among six additional county governments in Kenya to create localized nutrition action plans the following year. The high return on investment estimates were instrumental in the county governments’ decision-making to allocate funds to the interventions.

What are the next steps in your career progression…where do you see yourself going?

I would like to continue to grow in Health Economics while broadening by scope of work. I’d like to contribute to research on the economic impact of non-communicable diseases, the cost of unpaid health care, and the incentives that drive health seeking behaviors amongst populations in low and middle income countries.

What advice do you have for a potential student looking to complete their degree at the BSIA? Or for someone looking to work in Global Governance and International Policy?

Explore are many different areas of work as possible! If possible, travel and work out of different countries to gain contextual understanding on the issues that are of interest to you. And always keep in touch with your professors, they are a gold mine of information!

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