Finding a Family in Family Planning

November 23, 2015 at 8:40 am Leave a comment

IMG_2833By Miranda Pollock, BS

A conference with 12,000 attendees left my expectations for APHA in an overwhelmed fashion. The conference would be HUGE and full of topics I wanted to hear. However, I went in with a plan. I knew exactly what I wanted to hear, and the types of networking events I wanted to attend. All of those expectations were fulfilled, but included some pleasant surprises, and even some disappointments.

After attending the MCH-specific networking dinner on Saturday night, I was shocked at how cozy the MCH section was. This group of 50 or so was not overwhelming at all! The networking continued into Sunday morning, where I met several professionals and other students who will soon become colleagues from this home-base MCH section. I recognized faces from the dinner the night before, and in a sea of 12,000 I started to find a family. Later that day, I attended sessions and met with a new Chicago MCH contact via Tulane Career Services. With her recommendation, I attended the MCH social hour where again, I saw familiar faces. Even though I am not an MCH fellow, because I showed interest in the fellowship program and happened to network with the right people, I got an inside scoop to the fellowship program and even sat in on their orientation!

Some of the scientific sessions I attended were informative and inspiring, while others were disappointing. The session on Teen Pregnancy Prevention led to a narrowing of my focus in MCH and I made some connections to the West Coast. In addition, the session on women’s health politics was eye-opening; however, the sessions about neoliberalism and breastfeeding were dull and left me wanting more. All in all, I realized that my favorite part of APHA was networking. I am fascinated with people to begin with; put me in a comfortable space with other fired up women’s health advocates, and watch out: I’ll be asking for your business card!

Miranda Pollock is a first year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. Her background is in human biology and environmental microbiology. She plans to graduate in May 2017. Her interests include teen pregnancy prevention, STI prevention, and community collaboration. She also loves the arts, cycling, yoga, and meeting new people.

 

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