AcademyHealth Student Chapter is a new organization at George Mason University. The student chapter officially became a recognized student organization by Mason on Oct. 10 and was recently recognized as an AcademyHealth Chapter by the AcademyHealth organization.

“AcademyHealth is a professional organization that tries to bridge health services research with health policy and advocate for both sectors,” said Tracy Immel, co-president of AcademyHealth Student Chapter. “The student chapters serve as almost a vehicle for developing future leaders in health services research and policy.”

According to Immel, Mason was the right place to begin this student chapter.

“We have so many people in our school who are centered on health and policy, that it was a really good place to facilitate the development of leaders in those fields,” Immel said.

“[The student chapter] is another opportunity to provide to students that will help them grow as professionals, which is obviously the mission of the George Mason health administration and policy department,” Immel said.

While graduate students initiated the student chapter, students of all years are encouraged to join.
“We are still reaching out to undergrads,” Immel said. “It’s open to undergrad and masters students and Ph.D. students and nursing. It’s not restricted, but it’s more likely that we are going to get more active involvement from master’s students just because they are probably a little more set on their path of going into health services research and policy than an undergrad might be.”

“Our student chapter is really emphasizing networking, so it’s sort of another opportunity among many that we hope to post that offers students the opportunity to network with professionals,” Immel said.
To become a member of the student chapter, students must pay a $40 membership fee to the AcademyHealth organization. Students must be registered members of AcademyHealth in order to become members of the student chapter.

Chapter meetings are held once a month in the Johnson Center. The next chapter meeting will be held today.
“New students who maybe have not joined are still invited to come and then, obviously, members are going to come,” Immel said.

There will be a meet and greet session at the next chapter meeting as well as a guest speaker who will talk about breast cancer research.

“We are going to be providing a lot of opportunities to see health services research and policy in action,” Immel said. “AcademyHealth is sort of one place where students can go to help them better understand the world of health services research and policy and how they can use that information to build their careers.”

Elections for the AcademyHealth Student Chapter take place once a year in March. Then, a transition period will transpire in April, during which the outgoing officers will train the new officers.

Mason is not the only university that has an AcademyHealth Student Chapter. George Washington University, Georgetown University and John Hopkins University also have an AcademyHealth Student Chapter.

For more information about the AcademyHealth Student Chapter at Mason, students can visit and click on the AcademyHealth Student Chapter tab on the left side of the page.

The AcademyHealth Student Chapter also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account which can be found on the website.