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Janna Manjelievskaia PhD’17 takes her passion for health policy into a career in policy research with the Department of Defense

By Jenna Pizzi

Janna ManjelievskaiaJanna Manjelievskaia PhD’17 is translating her academic studies and passion for health policy into a career conducting research into preventative care measures at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Manjelievskaia is currently working on a study looking at the prevalence of hepatitis C virus screening among the Baby Boomer cohort. Her current work is also the subject of her dissertation, which focuses on the adoption and implementation of clinical practice guidelines for family physicians, specifically related to hepatitis C virus screening.

“My hope is that this research will show how often hepatitis C virus screening is being offered in primary care settings so we can develop interventions and perhaps even policies that aim to improve what I expect to be very low screening rates,” said Manjelievskaia. “Family physicians and other primary care doctors are often at the forefront of preventative medicine and it is important to study the ways by which they adopt new evidence and screening recommendations.”

Manjelievskaia works primarily as a researcher at the John P. Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed conducting population-based epidemiological and health services studies into cancer outcomes and the associated costs among the U.S. Department of Defense and its beneficiaries.

“The big push right now under the Affordable Care Act is to increase the delivery of preventative care services, so the work that we are doing to encourage these beneficiaries to be screened is the first step in lowering cost of treatment,” said Manjelievskaia.

Even during her time at USciences, she focused her research on these ways to increase preventative medicine and had research published in the American Journal of Men’s Health regarding the importance of testicular self-examination.

The article, which she co-authored with Michael Rovito, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida, and USciences Assistant Professor David Perlman, PhD, challenged the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s recommendation against testicular cancer screening. The study argued that the Task Force’s recommendation prompts an unwillingness among health practitioners to recommend their patients perform these self-exams. The team looked at the proven benefits of self-exams and considered the ethical implications of the Task Force’s official exclusion of the preventative measure.

“I often found myself wondering why certain preventative services such as mammography screening for breast cancer is widespread, while others like hepatitis C virus screening is not offered as often at the point of care,” said Manjelievskaia.

Manjelievskaia said she was also glad to earn the opportunity to travel to share her research findings at national conferences and co-author several publications with USciences professors, who remain her mentors.

“I was able to explore a variety of potential research topics and agendas during my time at USciences,” said Manjelievskaia. “Although I came in with a general idea of what I wanted to study, being able to work with several faculty members whose expertise addressed very different aspects of health policy allowed me the ability to decide in which area I was most interested.”

Manjelievskaia said she hopes to continue her research, eventually leading influential studies focused on the benefits of preventative services in primary care settings.

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