Johns Hopkins Engineering Winter Magazine 2013

White House Fellow Gains National Perspective

Anand Veeravagu '05

RX FOR A HEALTHIER NATION?
Anand Veeravagu will spend
the year searching for solutions.

A neurosurgeon-in-training who developed a novel brain cancer drug just a year after graduating from the Whiting School has joined the 2012–13 Class of White House Fellows, one of the nation’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service.

Anand Veeravagu ’05 reported in August to Washington, D.C., from Stanford University, where he earned his medical degree in 2009. Most recently, he was chief neurosurgery resident at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital, treating soldiers returning from Afghanistan with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

In his role as a full-time paid White House Fellow, Veeravagu will participate in roundtable discussions with leaders from the private and public sectors, and make trips to study U.S. policy in action, both domestically and internationally. In early October, for example, he visited Peru and Uruguay with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Veeravagu, who works closely with Panetta’s chief of staff, says he hopes to learn more about the needs of the nation’s military personnel in the months ahead. “Our class has a number of members from the armed services, which is a real privilege,” he says. “We learn about the military, their culture, and training—this is very important to me, and functionally a large portion of our community as a nation.”

Veeravagu says he hopes that his yearlong experience equips him to promote civic engagement White House Fellow Gains National Perspective and innovative problem solving among his peers. “Society has entered a critical time period whereby citizens have realized the power of participation,” he says. “Modern health care must be driven by innovative policies focused on economic planning and resource sustainability.”

Acting on a passion for health policy reform, Veeravagu has closely studied health resource utilization across the country. He has received more than 30 awards for his leadership, research, and promotion of health care access to underserved populations. In 2011, he traveled to Uganda to staff the CURE Neurosurgical Hospital there.

Veeravagu, who majored in biomedical engineering at the Whiting School and has already published more than 50 peerreviewed scientific manuscripts, says the interdisciplinary nature of the White House Fellowship experience appeals to him. “Some of the most incredible inventions in our nation’s history derive from the synergistic cooperation of distinct disciplines,” he says.

“Physicians, scientists, and engineers provide a unique perspective and have a valuable role to play in shaping our country’s future. I hope to develop the appropriate vocabulary and understanding of federal government to guide the health of our nation.”

When he returns to Stanford to continue his surgical training, he says, “I hope to return to my community with the confidence and knowledge of the power of civic participation, public service, and policymaking.”

— Christine Stutz