Feeding my passion

December 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

By Helena Likaj, BA

This was my second year attending APHA. Last year I approached APHA timid, scared, and unsure of what to expect but this year it was met differently. I was excited to explore my interests more deeply, meet an array of individuals who share my passion, and explore my options for after graduation.

Most of the sessions I attended were focused on sexual and reproductive health within the woman and teen population in the United States. These sessions provided an opportunity to meet and network with a number of individuals passionate on reclaiming the autonomy of our bodies, opening the doors to communicating about sex in a healthy manner with each other and our youth, and tackling issues that serve as barriers for women in regards to their sexual and reproductive health such as language, socioeconomic status, demographics and in relation to this year’s APHA theme, where they live. These factors should in no way shape or form dictate a woman’s human right of autonomy and health; it was uplifting to hear about the work being done to address this issue.

Attending APHA has motivated me to continue down the path of sexual and reproductive health after graduation in one way or another. I have a deeper understanding of my role in public health and am absolutely inspired to continue down my path to ensure a healthy and happy life for everyone’s sexual and reproductive health. I hope to work towards breaking down the barriers society has constructed for females and reclaiming our rights to our bodies. I hope to join the work I was introduced to at APHA and have always had a passion for, which are open communication, sex positivity, and reclaiming our sexuality, in hopes of reducing stigmas directed towards female sexuality, unwanted pregnancies, STIs, HIV/AIDS, sexual assault and violence.

Helena Likaj is a second-year MPH student and MCHLT Scholar, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health, with an anticipated graduation in May 2015. Her passion in public health falls within the realm of sexual and reproductive health research and translating this research into practice. She is a research assistant on the You Geaux Girl! project and a health educator at a local youth center, APEX. In her free time Helena enjoys enjoying live music, Beyonce especially, and food that New Orleans has to offer.


Entry filed under: Student posts. Tags: , , .

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