Barai headshot

Emerson Fellow

Nikita Barai

13th Class, 2006-2007

Field Placement: Food & Friends (Washington, DC)

Food & Friends is an organization that provides medical nutrition therapy, meals, and groceries to people living with life-challenging illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer.  Nikita conducted a pilot study, making 60+ home visits, to document how Food & Friends’ services affect the lives of its critically ill clients.  She also assisted in developing a comprehensive community resource guide to help clients meet additional needs, such as assistance with housing and health care. 

Hunger Free Community Report:

When Medicine Isn’t Enough: The Benefits of Providing Nutrition Support to People Living with a Life-Challenging Illness documents the pilot study evaluating health outcomes of critically ill patients who receive comprehensive nutrition services.  The report shows positive outcomes in the areas of health and symptom management, quality of life, food intake and knowledge of nutrition, and weight stabilization and body composition.

Policy Placement: Families USA (Washington, DC)

As part of the Health Policy team, Nikita focused on private insurance market reforms at the state and federal levels.  She also looked at recent changes in long-term care policy under Medicaid, the areas of cost-savings in healthcare, and medical debt.    

Pre-Fellowship Education and Experience:  

Nikita graduated with honors from Cornell University in 2006 with a degree in Urban and Regional Studies.  At Cornell, she became a certified Emergency Medical Technician, tutored low-income high school students for the SAT, studied in Washington, D.C. and Rome, and wrote an honors thesis on low-income women’s access to social services in drug treatment.  Originally from Munster, Indiana, Nikita has worked with Museum Campus Chicago, the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program, the Office of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, the Neonatology Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Chicago area HIV clinic.