Aliya Bhatia serves as Chief Operating Officer at Vot-ER, a not-for-profit organization focused on healthy communities powered by an inclusive democracy. Founded in 2019 by Dr. Alister Martin, Vot-ER has helped tens of thousands of healthcare professionals and patients to get ready to vote and has appeared in the New York Times, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the Washington Post, NBC, CNN, NPR, and more.
Aliya’s career spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She moved to Atlanta in 2018 for what seemed like her dream job, only to see the position suddenly disappear. Over the following five months, she experienced a personal glimpse of the broken fabric of our healthcare system as she went through five different health insurance cards attempting to obtain the necessary coverage. The many hours of phone calls trying to sort out her coverage, the surprise bill for a so-called “generic” drug, and the daily uncertainty surrounding her care left an indelible mark on her. Having already worked in education and studied housing policy, healthcare became a new area of passionate curiosity that propelled Aliya’s journey forward.
Deeply committed to helping build a diverse American democracy, Aliya joined Vot-ER in February 2020 as its second employee. Little did she know that her own experience with slipping through the cracks of America’s health policy would soon become a universal experience for too many Americans in the wake of COVID-19. And that voting would become so inextricably linked to public health. She has felt both humbled and challenged by the urgency of this work - and deeply grateful to be able to turn what felt like a moment of personal crisis into an opportunity for national impact.
As of November 2020, Vot-ER has placed Healthy Democracy Kits in the hands of over 25,000 front-line healthcare professionals, supported 48,000 Americans on their journey to get ready to vote, partnered with over 300 hospitals, and brought together 95 formal partners through Civic Health Month. In 2020 alone, the Vot-ER team's combination of staff, interns, and volunteers included over 80 healthcare professionals, designers, organizers, and data experts.
Prior to Vot-ER, Aliya worked primarily in the crade-to-career education space and in private sector consulting. Aliya completed her masters at Harvard Kennedy School and her undergraduate at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. She taught in New Orleans through Teach For America, served for-profit and social impact clients at the Boston Consulting Group, and helped to launch Purpose Built Schools.
More than anything, Aliya relishes working at the crossroads between different fields and disciplines. She loves projects and conversations that cut across topics such as democracy, diversity, education, housing, health, technology, policy, and leadership. In addition to her work at Vot-ER, Aliya serves as an advisor for the Colorado Youth Congress and Business for America and as a board member for Sewn Arts and Common Good Atlanta. For fun, she enjoys brainstorming big ideas with friends and mentors, riding the coattails of her former students, and dabbling in the visual and performing arts.