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The 92 Report

Nov 27, 2023

Alex Choi has been involved in various professional pursuits since graduating. He joined a consulting company and worked as a research associate before moving back home to Indiana to pursue medical school. Alex obtained a master's in biology and physiology to secure admission to Indiana University School of Medicine. He met his wife in the second year of med school and they have two children. After medical school, Choi joined a private practice in Indianapolis, where he became the managing partner and president of the Anesthesia Consultants of Indianapolis. Alex also received a master's in public health and policy management, which helped him become more involved in public policy issues. He was the physician leader for the division at IU Health until last year when he stepped down to go into pre-retirement. 

Alex left IU Health and joined another surgery center practice and was asked to be the Indiana Medical Director for the organization. He has been involved in various organizations, including the national society and state societies of organized medicine. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder over a decade ago and has since recovered from it. This inspired Alex to partner with people who formed the Zionsville Alliance for Mental Wellness Exam, a nonprofit that helps people navigate the mental health network system. He talks about his experiences in police and has been involved in public policy, working on the transition team for governors and serving on the Zionsville Town Council. However, he decided not to run for reelection to focus on his family and watch his children grow up.

Misconceptions about Bipolar Disorder

Alex discusses the challenges and misconceptions about bipolar disorder, a mental health issue that is a spectrum. He emphasizes the importance of not stigmatizing anyone with bipolar disorder or any mental health issues. Alex shares his own experiences with rapidly cycling episodes of mania and depression, which can last months, weeks, or months. He emphasizes the need for support networks and the importance of understanding that bipolar disorder is a chronic illness that can be overcome with the right therapy, support, and medications. He has been open about his journey and has used his town council status to put messages out about mental health treatment for mental health disorders. His openness has encouraged others to seek help. 

A Governor’s Role in Healthcare

Alex has also worked on the healthcare transition team for two different governors and a new mayor. In the governors' case, he helped determine healthcare priorities for the state, discussing data and determining priorities. He had a one-sheet agenda and an open forum for discussing these topics. In the mayor's role, he became involved in the town's finances, overseeing the town's finances and overseeing the city's budget.

The governor oversees the Department of Health and public health systems, which are interconnected and heavily influenced by Medicaid. In Indiana, the Medicaid system is administered by the governor's office through the Family and Social Services Administration, providing a safety net for those suffering from chronic illnesses or those unable to afford health care due to income or special status. As an unpaid lobbyist, Alex was involved in lobbying state representatives and advocating for better health care in Indiana. He ran for a state representative in a caucus election in 2015. Alex talks about why he wanted to be a state legislator and his efforts in that area, including pushing for the licensure of anesthesiologist assistants, a group of advanced providers, and establishing a program that graduates 24 anesthesiologist assistants annually to address shortages and anesthesia in the state. He talks about medical liability insurance in Indiana, and lobbying from the Trial Lawyers Association which led to increased limits on liability insurance costs. Despite these challenges, Alex believes that the state has made progress in improving healthcare policies and addressing the challenges faced by physicians and patients in Indiana.

Expanding the Potential of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

Alex discusses the potential of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform additional procedures that current regulations prohibit. He acknowledges that these areas vary from state to state, and medical schools and residencies must adhere to strict guidelines. However, he believes that there is higher variability in what is taught in medical schools and residencies, which can lead to a lack of qualified clinicians. He believes that medical schools and residencies will continue to train physicians to more complex procedures and specialties, leading to a shortage of doctors for certain procedures or patient types. As a result, physicians will need to push towards greater involvement from nurses and physician assistants but also ensure proper oversight. 


Running a Political Campaign

Alex talks about what he learned when running a campaign, which involves getting people to believe in oneself and their views. He found it challenging to run for office due to his full-time job and campaigning, but also appreciated the support of his family and friends. During his campaign, he faced opposition from the General Assembly, which passed one of the harshest anti-abortion laws after the DODDS decision. He had to navigate the public reaction and find a balance between advocating for pro-choice and expressing different views within a party. 


Influential Harvard Professors and Courses

Alex shares his personal and professional experiences with several courses and professors. He attended a church near his freshman year and was an usher. While there, he found the sermons of Professor Gomes helpful and realized the importance of his involvement in student lives. 



04:46 Bipolar disorder, treatment, and advocacy

12:14 Mental health treatment and government policy

18:52 Healthcare policy and legislation in Indiana

31:34 Medical professional scope of practice and campaign lessons learned

39:03 Mental health, politics, and career with former Indiana state senate candidate