Millennial generation must play active role on HHS federal advisory committees

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To correct this problem, we must begin appointing youth representatives to key HHS advisory committees, providing a means for Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 to have their voices heard in the health policymaking process. In particular, young adults can contribute uniquely and substantively to three crucial areas of health reform going forward: prevention, technology, and education. Accordingly, there is a compelling case to be made for Millennial appointments onto the National Prevention Council’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health, the Health IT Policy Committee, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education.

From my vantage point as the national head of health policy for the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network — a student think tank with over 100 chapters across the country — the need for youth representatives on health advisory councils could not be clearer. In this capacity, having helped to direct such youth-led initiatives as composing a complete federal budget proposal through the year 2040, I have seen firsthand that countless young Americans possess the health care know-how and the drive to provide a valuable voice to these committees.

Younger representatives would also bring unique experience and skill-sets — including social media savvy—to the fore. As an undergraduate biomedical researcher at Rice University and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, I have already published and presented novel findings in health science — and I am far from the only one of my peers to do so. Building on the ethical imperative to appoint youth members, such contributions demonstrate the potential for young Americans to provide an infusion of energy and innovation as health reform measures are phased in. With Millennials better represented on these bodies, we can take a step toward ensuring a more affordable, accessible, and higher-quality health care system for all Americans.

Rekhi is a student at Rice University and the senior fellow in Health Care Policy at the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network.