Alexandra A. Bhatti, JD, MPH
 Atlanta March for Science 2017

Atlanta March for Science 2017

Background

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" ~Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi's quote has been Alexandra's signature line for over a decade because she truly believes that change must start from within first before it can occur externally. Put simply, whatever changes you would like to effect in our society has to begin with you. Ms. Bhatti tries to live these words in every aspect of her life. 

Alexandra is a Phoenician- which has a nice ring to it but plainly she was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She is Pakistani-American, and the proud daughter of an immigrant Muslim father from Pakistan and a Green-Bay Packer loving Catholic mother from Wisconsin.  Ms. Bhatti is a middle child with two sisters,  Jasmine who is six years older and Anastasia who is seventeen years younger. And yes, her parents did select Disney royalty names for all daughters.

What you won't discover from reading her C.V. is that since Alexandra was 5 years old she always wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, or judge.  It's true, apparently she wrote it down in school for a 1st grade assignment. This is admittedly suspicious but her mom retains the proof of this five year old's lofty dreams. For most of her life, she wanted to be a doctor of some sort. Because of this Ms. Bhatti's kept herself busy in highschool and college padding her resume with hospital internships, white coat programs, and more.  She went so far as to take an  EMT-B (emergency medical technician-basic) course to become a certified first responder. This also is what spearheaded her decision to begin laboratory research at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute- that and the retina scan. Little did Alexandra know at the time but these activities meant to improve her medical school application led her down a different path. It wasn't until the end of graduate school that Alexandra felt brave enough to admit that being a doctor was not her dream anymore. In fact, it was during graduate school that she began considering the benefits of a legal education after taking courses from an attorney who focused in disaster preparedness and response. 

Alexandra finished graduate school and began working at the Arizona Department of Health Services and started going to law school at night. Now she is a lawyer, thus unintentionally fulfilling five year old Alexandra's second career goal and have she has found a way to bring her expertise and passion for healthcare and public health and her legal expertise together and she loves what she does.

 

Professional Work

A curriculum vitae will provide and organized list of Alexandra's professional and educational experiences along with skills and accolades but it cannot tell the story behind those positions and how those opportunities shaped her life. Professionally, she is a molecular biologist who transitioned from assessing microorganisms, to boots on the ground interactive public health work as a program manager for a state immunization program office, and now she finds herself at the other end of the spectrum as a public health attorney. 


 
 Presenting at the inaugural, "State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Public Health Attorney Institute" August 2017

Presenting at the inaugural, "State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Public Health Attorney Institute" August 2017

Public Health Attorney

Contracted for the Center's for disease control and prevention-Office of state tribal local and territorial support, Public health law program

As a public health attorney, she doesn't actually practice law in the traditional sense. Instead, her work consists of preforming legal research using legal epidemiology. Legal Epidemiology is the study of law as a factor in the cause, distribution, and prevention of disease and injury.

Ms. Bhatti's research portfolio focuses on vaccination laws and Medicaid policies.  In this role, she collaborates with public health colleagues at CDC and with state, tribal, local, and territorial partners, to analyze state and local laws related to vaccinations and better understand the impact of law on health

Current and ongoing projects include:

  • Legal assessment of healthcare worker and patient vaccination laws (across all 50 states and D.C.);

  • Comprehensive legal assessment of school (k-12) vaccination laws  (across all 50 states and D.C.),

  • Ongoing surveillance of pharmacy vaccination laws;

  • Assessment of all state Medicaid policies regarding coverage, cost-sharing and reimbursement for all ACIP recommended adult vaccinations; and

  • Legal assessment of childcare vaccination laws(across all 50states and D.C.)

Ms. Bhatti has been in this role since October 2016 and loves the opportunity to bring together her public health and legal knowledge and experience. In the most simple explanation, her job is to show how law impacts health.

But her role doesn't stop there. This research is fascinating but it is critical to translate and disseminate this information. This means she gets the opportunity to travel around the country and share not only her research but provide education on our methods so that others, such as public health professionals at the state and local level, can complete similar work and also have a better understanding of laws in general.

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Honors Faculty Associate

Arizona state university - school for the science of health care delivery

Alexandra has been with Arizona State University since Fall 2015 and is grateful for the opportunity to share her passion for science with students, many whom are aspiring healthcare and public health professionals, and foster their commitment to lifelong learning by connecting course materials to broader themes and current events. 

Instructing and developing upper division undergraduate courses such as Legal Issues in Health Care, Impact of Violence on Health, Evaluation of Health Sciences Research, Health Care Legislation, and Applied Medical and Health Care Ethics. 

Fall 2018:

  • HCD 432 - Legal Issues in Health Care 

  • HCD 332- Health care Legislation

Spring 2018:

  • HCD 432 - Legal Issues in Health Care (Session A)

  • MED 417- Impact of Violence on Health

  • HCD 432 - Legal Issues in Health Care (Session B)

Fall 2017:

  • HCD 432- Legal Issues in Health Care

Spring 2017:

  • HSC 420 - Evaluation of Health Sciences Research

  • HSC 432 - Legal Issues in Health Care

Fall 2016:

  • HSC 332 - Health Legislation (Session A)

  • HSC 332 - Health Legislation (Session B)

Summer 2016:

  • HSC 432- Legal Issues in Health Care

Fall 2015:

  • HSC 320 - Applied Medical/Health care Ethics

  • HSC 332 - Health Care Legislation

 Arizona State University Downtown Campus- location of School for the Science of Healthcare Delivery

Arizona State University Downtown Campus- location of School for the Science of Healthcare Delivery


Immunization Assessment Manager

Arizona Department of Health Services- Immunization Program OFfice

As the Immunization Assessment manager Alexandra oversaw multiple programs within the Immunization Program Office such as:

  • School and Childcare Immunization Program
  • AFIX Program - A CDC Provider Quality Improvement Program, and
  • Adult Immunization Program

Here Ms. Bhatti was also responsible for all data analytics and program evaluation and managed activities and fostered personal and professional growth of her direct reports.  She additionally led and developed state and federal grant proposals, and oversaw the implementation of respective program funding and leveraged technology to restructure program design to maximize efficiency and ultimately provide a better public service to Arizonans.

By the time she left this position, the her team had been given two awards from the CDC for their work, and she was considered a subject matter expert in the field and was providing technical assistance to states around the country, developed stronger programs in the office for adult and childhood vaccination, was the first to incorporate GIS in displaying vaccination coverage data link to income levels. Further due to her work, the program was one of the first states to publicly post school and childcare facility specific vaccination and exemption rates online, and Alexandra was recognized by The Arizona Partnership for Immunizations for "Outstanding media coverage to educate the public about the value of immunization as a preventive health strategy."

Overall this position has been one of Ms. Bhatti's most memorable and truly shaped her career. It was an honor to work alongside other Arizonans at the state and local level to help increase vaccination uptake and improve the health of the community.


Public Health Scientist- Microbiologist and Virologist

Arizona Department of Health Services- Public Health Laboratory

As a scientist at a State Public Health Laboratory, Alexandra's duties were to test, interpret, and report results on clinical and/or reference specimens for a variety of viral and bacterial agents in direct support of municipal, county, state, and/or federal public health programs.  In her time she tested for agents such as:

  • Virology/Serology: Rabies, Arboviruses, Herpes, St. Louis Encephalitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Brucella, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Norovirus, West Nile, Hantavirus, Dengue, HBV, HCV, HAV, HIV, Rickettsial panel: Spotted Fever/Typhus/Q Fever, Swine Flu, Avian Influenza, Influenza, Syphilis. In addition she also was responsibly for identifying potential viral causes of unexplained deaths.
  • Bacteriology/Mycobacteriology: Bordetella, Salmonella species ID, Legionella, Diptheriae, VISA/VRSA, CRE, Shigella, Strep, Bacillus, Camlobacter, Vibrio, E. coli, Neisseria, general enterics, Haemophilus typing, mycobacterium species, and misc. bacteria. In addition she also was responsibly for identifying potential bacterial causes of unexplained deaths.

Ms. Bhatti's days on the bench were never boring. At the State lab, there was always something new to explore. Notably she recalls her first week in the microbiology lab where she isolated and identified a bacteria from a human that had never seen before at the State lab. 

Beyond technical skills gained, laboratory work has taught the importance of being resilient, detailed oriented, and curious. 

 Testing one of two bears for rabies after Payson bear attacks, June 2012

Testing one of two bears for rabies after Payson bear attacks, June 2012


Education


 
 
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Juris Doctor

Arizona Summit Law School (2013-2015)


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Master of Public Health-Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Certificate - Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response

University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of public Health (2009-2011)


Bachelor of Science-Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology  

Arizona State University (2004-2008)

  • Member of Alpha Epsilon Delta Premedical Honor Society
  • Member of Support for International Change
  • Student Researcher: Arizona State University Biodesign Institute - Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines, and Virotherapy in Dr. Bertram Jacobs' lab