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Friday Feature: Elisabeth Vodicka

This week's Friday Feature member is Elisabeth Vodicka! Elisabeth first joined The Riveter after searching for coworking spaces in Novemeber 2017. For the past few months, Elisabeth has been working out of our Fremont space to finish her dissertation for the Comparative Health Policy and Economics Institute at the University of Washington (which she successfully defended in late January, congratulations Elisabeth!). She is also a staple at The Riveter's wellness popups and we love having her bright smile and contagious energy in our spaces! 
 
Elisabeth Vodicka Photo.jpg
 
This Friday, we took some time to get to know a bit more about Elisabeth, what she's been up to post-dissertation defense and some of her current favorite things.   
 
What are a few of your favorite things about The Riveter?
 
The endless supply of great coffee, cheery and supportive staff, and the amazing natural light and view of Lake Union. I also like the fact that my productivity tripled once I joined this space as a dedicated desk member. Being able to access the work space during nights and weekends is also a fantastic perk (although that means that I sometimes am working during nights and weekends :)). 
 
Tell us about yourself! Include 3 fun facts.
 
I grew up on a lake in Northern Wisconsin, and so I'm happiest when slalom waterskiing -- and eating deep fried, beer battered cheese curds, of course. Also, I'm passionate about women's health, economics and reproductive justice. Spend enough time with me and you'll probably get tired of hearing me talk about why access to free birth control provides such great value for our collective health dollars!
 
Tell us what you do!
 
I just finished my PhD with the Comparative Health Policy and Economics Institute at the University of Washington. Currently, I work as a freelance health economics consultant on projects that aim to improve access to health care in low-income settings. 
 

My dissertation work focused on evaluating the economic impact of integrating cervical cancer screening and treatment into existing health systems in East Africa (Kenya and Uganda). Although cervical cancer is preventable and treatable if detected early, cervical cancer screening rates are low -- 3-20% depending on regional characteristics, compared to over 80% in high-income countries like the U.S. This means that a lot of women are dying unnecessarily from a preventable disease due to lack of early detection. One strategy for improving access to potentially life-saving screening is to leverage the fact that women in East Africa engage with various health systems platforms for other types of care (i.e., family planning, taking their children in for vaccinations, tuberculosis and HIV-treatment, etc.). Since these programs are already funded and staffed, screening could be offered to women in these settings via service integration for potentially low marginal costs. Other researchers have been evaluating the clinical impact of these types of programs, and my research builds on their work by modeling the potential economic impact and value of integrated screening approaches.

Do you have any events that members can get involved with?
 
None at the moment, but happy to grab coffee and talk health econ anytime!
 
What is your #1 piece of advice to women professionals / entrepreneurs.
 
Develop and nurture relationships with other women who will give it to you straight, push you when you need to be challenged, and toast your successes when you achieve your goals. And then do the same for them and pay it forward. The more we lift each other up and cheer each other on, the more we all succeed as a community.
 
What's your perspective on success / failure?
 
As cliche as it is, the failures I've experienced in my life and career have been far more valuable than the successes that came easy. When we're willing to reflect and learn from these failures, we often come out on the other side with more clarity, self-awareness and energy to tackle future challenges that come our way.
 
What is your favorite book / podcast of all time?
 
The now defunct Mystery Show podcast with Starlee Kine. I binge listened as Starlee solved very important, real life mysteries about such topics as returning a random belt buckle discovered on the street to it's rightful owner and answering, once and for all, how tall IS Jake Gyllenhaal, anyway?!
 
What is your proudest accomplishment?
 
Probably getting to work with some of my reproductive health heroes on a study looking at the value of employer-sponsored contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act and publishing an op-ed in the Seattle Times about our findings. 
 
If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?

I'd travel ahead to get a sneak peek at what life on Mars is like when we're all living there in space communities of the future.
 
What's rocking your world this month?
 
Dope Moments for the Resistance Yoga through Poseurs at Dance Underground in Capitol Hill on Thursdays, 6:15pm-7:15pm. Classes are donation based, with all proceeds going to a rotating charity each month. This month, they are supporting Youth Care, which provides services for homeless youth in Seattle. Bring your mat and check it out!
 
Stay tuned every Friday for a feature blog post on The Riveter members! We have amazing members in our Capitol Hill and Fremont spaces and we're excited to share their stories. #TheRiveterMembers