“My specialty is health care economics. I do studies of health-care demand, which center on how we as consumers of health care make decisions to get care or not get care or see a certain physician or go to a certain hospital for care or how much we or our insurance company is willing to pay for services. My interest in the field was influenced by my father, a practicing physician, and my mother, a radiology technician, so health care has always been the family business. As a solo practicing physician, my father faced changing regulations, including confusing information about payments and the difficulties of haggling with insurance companies. Medicine wasn’t for me, but I was okay in math and decided to tackle these issues that I have turning over in my head since I was a kid.”
“Lafayette’s liberal arts tradition really spoke to me. I got my undergrad at Ramapo College of New Jersey, which is a small public liberal arts school. I had the same model of education as an undergrad as is offered here at Lafayette. When I went to college I was a shy kid, with every intention to skip class and play board games. By the time I left I was in student government, college radio, doubling up on math classes, and making friends for life. I met my wife in college. The entire arc of my life bends around those four years. I’m a huge believer in that model, and have always wanted was to work at college like this.”
“I see students as other adults in the room. They’re paying to be there, they’ve selected into this, and my job is to help them learn content as plainly and as actionable as possible. It could be as simple as decoding the alphabet soup of health-care legislation and understanding the language in which decisions are being made. I also teach econometric skills, things that students can put on their resumes and show employers that they know how to do this.
“I only own watches like this without a watch face. I like seeing the gears inside. My paternal grandfather and his father were Jews in Romania at the outbreak of World War II and were put on a train and deported to work camps. And they survived the war because my great-grandfather was a watchmaker. That survival allowed my dad to come to the United States. I always think about how it’s really important in life to have some understanding of the world around you — the way stuff works, like the gears in a watch — because any day things can go sideways. You have a bad day or bad fortune and you don’t want to be helpless. You want to be able to navigate the world on your own and fend for yourself.”
“I play music—guitar and bass. And I’m learning the oud, an Arabic folk instrument. I’m a big heavy metal guy and love Iron Maiden. I’ve seen them five times. My wife’s family is from Egypt, so I’m also learning Arabic. At the end of eight weeks of studying, I’m already able to have a conversation with my in-laws in their native language.”