Using networking to develop my own philosophy

November 28, 2014 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

By Caroline Kusi, MPH

The 2014 APHA Conference experience was one that I will never forget. Unlike the previous year, this year’s conference was unique in that it challenged my networking skills and formally inaugurated me to the networking world. I undoubtedly enjoyed the academic presentations about maternal health I attended, but I felt that my conversations and networking with individuals who gave those presentations transformed me.   First, my networking after presentations and at receptions enabled me to learn about varying global health practice viewpoints. For instance, I engaged in a one hour long conversation with a Nigerian public health professional about the differences between the roles of expatriates for advancing global health agendas and those of local people. From another presenter, I learned about the promotion of social activism principles in the Congo and how I can integrate that into my global health philosophy. In a nutshell, this APHA conference was more than getting people’s business cards to get secure internships and jobs; it was about developing my own global health philosophy with the help of presenters and other public health professionals. This process unexpectedly took place at receptions and random coffee breaks.

Another way in which I was impacted at the conference was through the strong sense of motivation, persevering, and challenged spirit of presenters I conversed with during receptions. Particularly with individuals working in sub-Saharan Africa, I was pleased with the hope they had to continue to work hard to transform lives. I was enlightened by their honest thoughts about political and other programmatic challenges they faced as researchers within the agencies I hope to work for in the future. Finally, one of the sessions that was not related to my area of interest, but had a positive impact on me was the presentation on Ebola. At this presentation, I gained more insight about global challenges of addressing public health threats, the mistakes of major donors, and the inequity in the distribution of resources to low-resourced settings.

 Caroline Kusi, MPH is a second year doctoral student in GCHBS. Her research interests include health systems strengthening and maternal mortality.

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