How I Nuna: Maria Knox
Healthcare Analyst & Actuary, Employer Data and Analytics
Where do you fit at Nuna?
I’m an actuary by training - a risk calculator. I’ve worked in healthcare my whole career, studying how factors like disease, demographics, insurance benefits, and how providers are paid affect costs. I am a builder of models - tools that organize data to answer healthcare questions in a systematic way.
Despite all of the tests an actuary is required to take, I still have much to learn. At Nuna, my team is comprised of people who bring different skills from me - statistics, programming, relationship management - who can improve upon my models and turn them into something our clients will value. And if we didn’t have the client-whisperers in account management, believe me, none of my work would matter.
What drew you to Nuna?
Before coming to Nuna, I did much of my analytic work using pre-packaged, clunky, buggy tools. I now build my own models using programming languages which are both flexible and allow for analyses to be easily replicated across datasets. I also have much faster access to the millions of data records underlying the analysis, and using that much data can help us look farther than averages. This allows me to better understand and evaluate our clients’ populations and identify ways in which members’ health can be improved.
The tech is really cool, but at the end of the day, it is the commitment, curiosity, and passion of the folks at Nuna that keeps me doing this work. I was born in Bulgaria, under Communism, at a time when most people weren’t free to make their own decisions. When the Berlin Wall fell and when I moved to the U.S., I was overwhelmed by the wild array of choices everyone had. So it is such a delight that in a city as big as San Francisco, with so many opportunities for bright tech professionals from so many backgrounds, that this team chose to come together to help heal our healthcare system.
Where is your favorite place to eat ice cream?
Humphry Slocombe. My favorite is "Secret Breakfast" - rich vanilla ice cream with a pronounced bourbon twang and bites of crispy, sweet cereal.