pontes newsletter #3

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Dearest humans!

I hope this email finds you comfortable, at ease and hydrated. If not, do us both a favor and go grab yourself a delicious glass of water. No really, it will make the next few lines more smooth to swallow.

This year was marked by changes in structure and mindset. After two years of asking questions about financial technology (at Axial), I took an opportunity to expand my understanding of healthcare and the undergoing tectonic shift spurred by digitization of a sector that accounts for nearly 20% of our GDP. I'll be working for Flatiron Health on developing data pipelines and algorithms for oncology healthcare: my first project involves establishing a matching algorithm between patients who cannot afford cancer care and alternative trial & treatment options.

Joining healthcare technology mid-revolution is a decisive turn in my life: I'm using this opportunity to think about whether I'd want to go back to graduate school for technical expertise (healthcare economics, epidemiology) or research experience (sociology, public policy work aiming at criminal justice reform). I do imagine there being two distinct educational mandates between doing work in criminal justice versus healthcare. I imagine a future career in criminal justice as relying heavily on grant writing, pilot programs, project evaluations, bureaucratic and political promulgation of findings and gathering energy for change. On the other hand, I am imagining a future career in healthcare as being driven by innovative technical expertise (statistical, data structures, live sciences) in order to unleash the potential of real world data in optimizing patient care to unprecedented levels.

The Thinking Experiment at Queensboro Correctional has been developing in interesting ways. I am trying to foster relationships with outstanding individuals in local government who are fighting for change. I decided to start blogging about it so I could give inmates and NYC parolees a place to post their thoughts and questions. I'm considering reappropriating the blog to be a panel for Q&A, where parolees mentor each other through the big and small adaptations of re-entry. Some things we talked about this year: how violent expression is a betrayal of our fundamental feelings and how science and religion are concomitant bastions of humility (of intellect and spirit).

This year I was also gifted with the experience of meeting Richard Alan Mitchell-- though we'll just call him Alan from now on. He's a wonderful, curious soul that brings playfulness and initiative to life around him. I've also gotten back into painting (mostly acrylic) and endured a non-fiction binge (my favorite was Chasing the Scream about the war on drugs). I'm looking to make new friends here in NYC, so if you know of anyone looking for compatriots to have illuminating conversations with, let me know!

I am always looking for your feedback. If you have any questions or advice on anything you read above, please gift me with your thoughts!

With love, with wonderful wishes and vibes sent your way,

Alda ​