Archive for October, 2014

Upcoming Seminar: How to make the most of APHA

Join us for a free seminar, open to the public on 11/4 12-12:45p in Tidewater Room 1208 (1440 Canal Street) to learn more about utilizing your time at the nations largest public health conference, hosted by the American Public Health Association.

Shokufeh Ramirez, MPH, Program Manager for MCHLT will highlight key ideas like what to wear, how to manage your schedule, and where are the best places to network.

How to make most of APHA 2014 flyer

 

 

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October 22, 2014 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

We are hiring a student!

word cloud logo 7The Tulane Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training Program is hiring a research assistant to:

  • Perform background research and writing related to maternal and child health in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the United States
  • Maintain regular MCHLT presence on and develop content for our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WordPress)
  • Assist with evaluation of MCHLT program activities
  • Help organize and carry out events

Qualifications

  • Tulane SPHTM graduate student
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Interest in Maternal and Child Health
  • Available to work 15-20 hours per week, multiple days of the week for several hours at a time
  • Skilled at working independently
  • Experience, or interest, in working with social media

The deadline to apply is 5p.m. Thursday, October 23, 2014. Email your one-page cover letter, resume and the name of two references to:
 Shokufeh Ramirez, MPH
Program Manager, Tulane MCHLT
sramirez@tulane.edu

October 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm 2 comments

Momentum

Several MPH students recently attended the joint CityMatCH Leadership & MCH Epidemiology Conference (September 17 – 19, 2014, in Phoenix, AZ) and were asked to share a few thoughts about their experiences. What follows is one of these reflections.

by Gloria Grady, BA

During this conference, one word kept popping up in my mind: momentum. A lot of ideas and concepts seem to be picking up momentum in the field of maternal and child health. In the short time I have been in the field, I’ve noticed more and more attention being placed on social and economic inequalities, Life Course, and racism as a public health issue. More so than just attention, these issues are gaining momentum for action. While public health workers may still be confused about how to address racism and income inequality, many are finding ways to put it in their job description to address injustices. During this conference, I realized that I am part of this movement, of this momentum toward a new paradigm that incorporates the fight for social equality into the public health job description. I realized that I have come into public health at the perfect time—when the field needs its new workers to keep this movement, this new (at least, it seems new to me) paradigm, rolling and snowballing into action.

This conference made me thankful for whatever or whoever has placed me here, now, in this field. I am thankful that my passions are lined up to a movement that needs more hands, and I am hopeful that change will come with the efforts of public health workers and others working to end injustice.

 Gloria Grady is a second-year MPH student and MCHLT Scholar, with a focus in Maternal and Child Health and a particular interest in reducing health disparities.

October 13, 2014 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Doing our best

Several MPH students recently attended the joint CityMatCH Leadership & MCH Epidemiology Conference (September 17 – 19, 2014, in Phoenix, AZ) and were asked to share a few thoughts about their experiences. What follows is one of these reflections.

by Alicia Lightbourne, BA

What surprised me most about the CityMatCH conference was the fight and determination in every speech I attended and the fervor of every participant. Instead of becoming jaded and complacent as they became more and more frustrated with the system, even the most senior participants were fervent about doing something and still whole-heartedly believed in that often dismissed, childish notion of ‘making a difference’. However, some pointed fingers back into the crowd when discussing why some aspects of public health hadn’t improved as much as previously hoped.

One of the more memorable speeches I attended initially seemed so obscure; it was about infographics, led by a graphic designer, and largely attended by epidemiologists. The tension was palpable almost immediately. The speaker tried to enforce that the point of public health was to compel a behavior change in the public whereas the crowd was adamant that her tactics compromised the accuracy of the data by oversimplifying it. “Who cares?” she almost yelled in response.  The rising frustration humored and intrigued me. I had never before considered the lack of connection between data and policy, but here public health professionals were staunchly divided and livid – over something as basic as charts.

In the scramble for funding and accuracy, it is often easy to forget about the target audience – the public. When addressing health disparities, we need to find ways to motivate, engage, and connect. We should offer solutions and hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable epidemiology.

We not only can do better, we should be doing our best.

Alicia Lightbourne is a second-year MPH student concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. Her interests include adolescent health and how gender norms impact health outcomes.

October 10, 2014 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

The Location and Color of Health

Several MPH students recently attended the joint CityMatCH Leadership & MCH Epidemiology Conference (September 17 – 19, 2014, in Phoenix, AZ) and were asked to share a few thoughts about their experiences. What follows is one of these reflections.

by Anne Fields, BA

Recently I was afforded the opportunity to travel with fellow students to Phoenix, Arizona for the CityMatCH Leadership and MCH Epidemiology Conference. Two of the main themes explored throughout the conference were place and race as they relate to health inequalities.   In many ways, this is so evident in our world. We can think about the poorest places on earth, in the United States, or in New Orleans, and even within these places, inequalities are still stratified by race. As we climb up the totem pole, the trend will continue. People of color are consistently missing out on their share of the pie. Yet, it is through the incorporation of the inequalities by place that we can see clearly this is not the result of poor genetics, lack of worth, or bootstraps, or any other excuse made to deny the racism that still exists right now.   These inequalities are a result of the environment and the system into which one is born. Otherwise, place stratification would not occur. If it were as simple as genetics, then it would not matter where you lived. Those conditions would not drastically impact your health. But they do.

Unfortunately the systems we have in place to remedy these health inequalities are failing. Why? Another hot topic at this year’s conference was the life course. Instead of thinking about health as the moment when an individual reaches a breaking point, gets sick, and thus enters the health care system, we have to consider what is happening over the entire lifetime that led to that breaking moment. We have to think about fixing the problems before they even begin. We have to look at the root causes. We have to look at why the teenager is engaging in risky sexual behaviors rather than why they are pregnant.

I recently attended a training for mental health professionals interested in learning about and assisting with the influx of unaccompanied minors to New Orleans.   In the past year, at least 1,300 unaccompanied children immigrants have arrived in Louisiana. The majority of these children are from Honduras, as well as El Salvador and Guatemala. They are fleeing gang violence. Honduras currently has the highest murder rate in the world. However, these children are being denied their human rights as asylum seekers because the United States conveniently has not created a policy to grant asylum to those that are not fleeing “an identified political regime.” They are placed in detention centers that are referred to as “ice boxes” because they are intentionally kept so cold so that other children en camino will hear and not want to come.   Children are forced to stand up for days on end. Children are dying of hypothermia and left on the floor among the other children. Yes, this is holocaust–esque and, yes, this is happening right now in the United States.   These children have been raped, seen their siblings and friends raped, seen murder, seen other children eaten by coyotes, and experienced such horrific things that I cannot even imagine having lived through. The idea that place and race are not at play here is ludicrous. The idea that it is somehow their responsibility, not ours, is also ludicrous.

While much of this information is extremely overwhelming, and leaves one feeling like a really, really small fish in the middle of the ocean, simple, small steps and local movements were reiterated throughout the conference. The fact that a room full of public health professionals simply acknowledged race as an ever-present issue in our society is a step.   The fact that there was a training of local members and allies of the Latino community is a step. The fact that you are reading a blog about MCH is a step. We have to sweat the small stuff in order to achieve real change.

Anne Fields is a second-year dual-degree MSW/MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in August 2015. Her interests include adolescent health, sexual health, behavioral health integration, and immigrant populations.  She also loves running, yoga, and cooking.

October 9, 2014 at 7:51 am Leave a comment

Ideas I will carry with me

Several MPH students recently attended the joint CityMatCH Leadership & MCH Epidemiology Conference (September 17 – 19, 2014, in Phoenix, AZ) and were asked to share a few thoughts about their experiences. What follows is one of these reflections.

by Helena Likaj, BA

Flying out to CityMatCH I was very excited. I was excited to gather with new faces  in a new city to share our passions and discuss the amazing work that is being done within Epidemiology and MCH. The moment the Conference Welcome began I knew that the excitement was well warranted.

Throughout the conference I was touched deeply with the words that presenters and speakers graced us with. So much that I decided write a few quotes down so I could remember them throughout my public health journey but also share them with others.

“ Float before you swim.”
“Anything that can be done can be undone.”
“Rock the boat.”
“What do we owe this kid? This kid did not create these consequences.”
“Zip code matters more than genetic code.”
“You can’t cure a lifetime of illness in nine months.”

These quotes probably spoke to the audience in a number of different ways but without a doubt we all left inspired by these words. Through these quotes and a number of other discussions, I left Arizona and came back to New Orleans with a number of thoughts.

We must be ready to understand the needs and wants of community members,  face opposition head on, we must remember the importance of the life course perspective and promote a healthy lifestyle early in the life of a child, we must break down and chip away at the norms of society that have lead to such great inequality and disparity among individuals, and we must fight for the right of equality and access to a healthy life for all regardless of your gender, race, level of education, and financial situation. These are the ideas with which I left CityMatCH and these are the ideas that I will carry with me throughout my professional and personal life.

Helena Likaj is a second-year MPH student and MCHLT Scholar, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2015. Her interests include adolescent reproductive health.

October 8, 2014 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Part of the process

Several MPH students recently attended the joint CityMatCH Leadership & MCH Epidemiology Conference (September 17 – 19, 2014, in Phoenix, AZ) and were asked to share a few thoughts about their experiences. What follows is one of these reflections.

by Ashley Hoover, BS

As a self-proclaimed MCH nerd, I was very excited to have the opportunity to attend the CityMatCH Maternal and Child Health Leadership and Epidemiology conference in September. A much shorter conference than the annual APHA conference, sessions were invariably smaller and allowed for more discussion (both one-on-one and in larger groups) with relevant topics related to my interests, particularly concerning women’s health, family planning, and perinatal health. It was also easier to network because the conference itself is smaller than APHA and many attendees had similar interests.

The sessions were informative on current research and practices in the field of Maternal and Child Health, and also interactive, allowing for greater synthesis of the material being presented. I found this to be especially useful as I begin to harness the abstract thoughts around my career into concrete ideas and determining what skills and knowledge will be most beneficial to me as I begin work in the field.

The conference also addressed broad themes relating to various social determinants of health and how to address them through transforming data collected in the field into better programs, better policy, and ultimately, eliminating health inequity.  As I reflect on the discussions we had, I think a key issue currently at the forefront of maternal and child health is how to use the data to effectively make these changes. Here in lies the challenge for us as emerging leaders in the field, but also for public health as a profession as we move toward better and more evidence-based work to produce a more equal society in health.  While the topic was discussed in great detail at the conference, I feel the answer of how to effectively move data into action is still unclear. However, I feel that being able to have this conversation and others like it with professionals in the field who are all dedicated to eliminating health disparities and inequities is just the beginning and I am grateful to be a part of the process.

Ashley Hoover is a second-year MPH student and MCHLT Scholar, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. Her interests include women’s health across the life course, reproductive health, maternal and child health epidemiology, and reducing disparities and inequities in birth outcomes.

October 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

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