Esita Patel is a 3rd year health care systems-track doctoral student in UNC’s School of Nursing through the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation. Her research interests include healthcare workforce policy and access to high-quality and cost-effective care. For her dissertation work, she plans to examine how state-level nurse practitioner scope of practice policy changes affect type II diabetes related health service utilization and outcomes. She earned her BS in biology and nursing from UNC, with highest honors in both degrees. She also earned a Business Essentials Certification through UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. During her doctoral program, she has worked as a research practicum student on a project examining the business case of nurse residency programs, as a research assistant on a project examining SC’s sexual and reproductive health workforce, and on a committee helping prepare a follow-up report on the 2010 Institute of Medicine’s Report on the Future of Nursing. She is also a labor and delivery nurse at UNC Women’s Hospital, helping ground her research thinking in clinical applicability. While health services research fuels her mind, laughing with her friends and dog, spicy food, playing the violin, and being outdoors fuel her soul.