Behind every great person is… a person

November 22, 2016 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

Many of the CEMCH Scholars attended this year’s meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), held in Denver, October 29 – November 2. We will be posting their reflections and highlights this month.

By Kara Hoffman, BS

The theme of this year’s APHA conference was Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health. I arrived to the conference on Sunday, in the middle of the first full day, having come straight from a friend’s wedding in Texas, and unfortunately missed some earlier events. That evening my classmate Gabriella and I attended a public health activist’s dinner down the street from the convention center. Based on the description of the event, I thought I would be attending an event for people like myself – who consider themselves activists in the public health field, to simply network and enjoy a dinner together as a community of like-minded individuals. Little did I know this was about to be the dinner of a lifetime.

kara-marmot-gabriella

Kara Hoffman, Sir Michael Marmot, and Gabriella Landgraf-Neuhaus (left to right)

Gabriella and I arrived earlier than many of the guests and set our coats at a table before mingling with some of the other guests. When we returned, our table had filled up with people whom I did not recognize. I quickly learned that I was sitting next to past APHA President, from 1983, Anthony Robbins, MD, MPA, who has attended consecutively the last 51 APHA annual conferences! In addition to meeting Dr. Robbins, I also got the chance to speak with many other seasoned activists in the public health community who have played a pivotal role in social justice efforts across the US. I also had the pleasure of meeting Sir Michael Marmot, commonly referred to as the father of the social determinants of health – which I never would have dreamed would happen!

Meeting so many significant people in the field yet seeing them socialize in this environment made me realize that every great person is still just a person, and that I too am capable of achieving great things in my career as a public health advocate!

Kara Hoffman is a first-year MPH student concentrating in Maternal and Child Health, and plans to graduate in May 2018. She received a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from The George Washington University in 2013. Her interests include nursing, midwifery, perinatal care, and nutrition and physical activity education.

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