Student Highlight – Diptee Ojha is a PhD candidate in the Health Services Research, Administration, and Policy program in the Department of Health Services Research and Administration. She is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal. Diptee has an undergraduate degree in dentistry from India and an MBA in health care management from Bellevue University. She currently lives in Omaha with her husband, Kush, and her six year old mutt, Layla.
Diptee’s introduction to the world of public health came in a class that she took while in dental school. The class provided her with a valuable introduction to the contemporary issues faced in health care today. It also convinced her of the importance of public health research everywhere around the world. Upon graduation from dental school, she moved back to Nepal and worked as a dentist in both the public and private sectors. Diptee worked in both a government clinic and a private practice clinic, and noticed a marked difference between the two clinics in the socioeconomic status of patients. What Diptee took away from this experience is that professional oral care should not be compromised due to a patient’s financial situation. Her background in dental surgery offered the opportunity to deliver oral health care. However, the lack of variety within the field and its limited options for growth led her to seek additional education and training. The disparity in access, cost and quality of care provided to different classes in the population and the lack of oral health services research heightened her interest in the public health services research. Diptee is interested in researching dental health services. Access to care both spatial and non-spatial, an aging workforce, a lack of documentation of dental disease, and dental health status are critical issues that we face today, especially in a rural states like Nebraska. Diptee’s long-term goal is to get a better understanding of these issues. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in health services research hopefully in the academic sector. One of her goals is to develop a competency-based course in dental health services that could introduce dental and dental hygiene students to the most pressing issues related to dental and oral health.
Diptee has been a student in the College of Public Health for the past three years and has enjoyed every moment. She appreciates the diversity among the faculty and student body. The learning atmosphere and the wide range of research resources has played a key role in her education. Diptee was recently featured in a student testimonial video focusing on student support and lifelong relationships in the College of Public Health.