When 21-year-old Elle Kalisz was a sophomore in college, she had a medical emergency that quickly turned into a near-death experience. "I got to see the impacts of policy on my very own life," she recalled. "I was inspired by medical innovation and development."
"I knew I wanted to empower young people to take control of their lives and future."
That opened the door to her future in improving healthcare. She quickly learned that it's essential for young people, who might not think it's something that impacts them yet, to engage in conversations about healthcare."We tend to not think of healthcare and our health as critically due to our health at a young age, but it's vital that we speak and talk about this now," Elle said. "I knew I wanted to empower young people to take control of their lives and future, and bringing light to the healthcare challenges we will face was a perfect way."
Elle became a Healthcare Policy Fellow and Vice President of Communications of Gen Z GOP, a group working to mobilize younger, reform-minded conservatives to help chart a new vision and platform for the Republican Party. She presents alternative ideas to tackling healthcare reform through a conservative lens, while also being responsible for the organization’s communications and branding strategy.
Elle was honored for her work in Healthcare through The ConversationaLIST, our annual honoree list recognizing exceptional Gen Z'ers making an impact simply by using their voices for good. She uses her voice to advocate for conservative healthcare reforms that aren't widely spoken about, prioritizing patient outcomes, lowering costs, and expanding access while maintaining choice and efficiency. "I engage young people with essential parts of the healthcare debate by presenting solutions and answering any and all questions," she said. "I empower young people to view healthcare as a vital part of our generations future."
"I wanted to be able to articulate not only why I believed in conservative healthcare reforms, but the good that they can bring."
Finding her voice and having meaningful conversations has been an instrumental part of her ability to affect change."Often misguided anger and aggression towards a subject as personal as healthcare comes from the lack of discourse surrounding the different sides of the debate...I wanted to be able to articulate not only why I believed in conservative healthcare reforms, but the good that they can bring."
In the next five years, Elle hopes to be working in a position where she can continue learning and advancing health care policy, whether in the private industry, in a government scope, or on the advocacy side."I hope that my legacy will be bringing significant healthcare reform and changes to our current debate," she added.
While Elle has said that thought leaders and politicians inspire her in her work, her true inspiration comes from her family. "They are hardworking, determined, and the most kind-hearted people you could ever meet. They taught me that through hard work and compassion, you could do anything despite your resources," she said. "They never strayed away from being honest about how hard it would be, but supported me and cheered me on in light of that. They taught me what it is like to work for what you have and how to appreciate yourself, your skills, and the drive within yourself that it takes to get there."
When she's not advocating for healthcare reform at Gen Z GOP, Elle enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her roommates. She's also part of American University's Model United Nations competitive team.
You can find Elle engaging in conversations and experiencing new perspectives with her fellow Gen Z'ers at TC, a platform she believes brings together future change-makers. Based on her experience, she has important advice about how Gen Z can connect around difficult topics and build a more unified world.
"You will never be able to change minds. You will only be able to plant seeds."
"Our generation can curate change by recognizing our shared goals and values and using that foundation for the future of our world," Elle said. "I try to gain as much knowledge and perspective as before making an opinion. You will never be able to change minds. You will only be able to plant seeds."
Big snaps to Elle Kalisz for all of the work she’s doing to advocate for healthcare reform and her mission to keep Gen Z informed about how we can build a more effective healthcare system. Keep up with her on Instagram and follow to learn more about her incredible work and find out how you can get involved with Gen Z GOP.