Glimpse of Something More

Many of our students attended this year’s meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), held in Atlanta, November 4 – 8. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Temitope Akintimehin, BS

Temitope Akintehin, at the Tulane APHA booth

Going to the APHA Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, gave me a renewed perspective on public health. It is one thing to learn from a paper about the research people have done, but to be able to have the opportunity to speak to a researcher about their work in person is a whole other experience. This conference allowed me the chance to speak one-on-one with public health professionals in the field and network with people who were enthusiastic to connect me with peers who shared my interest. Despite being a student and inexperienced, the health professionals and doctors never made me feel like I did not belong. They welcomed my curiosity and they responded with great wisdom. I never felt intimidated to voice my opinion or ask for more clarification. The more I interacted with people, the more confident I felt about my choice to pursue my MPH degree.

What I enjoyed most about the conference was the diversity. There were a variety of sessions and topics that covered just about everything about public health. That reminded me just how versatile the realm of public health could be and that it was ok for me to have multiple interests that overlapped. The more I attended sessions, asked questions, and contributed to conversations, the more I felt like I belonged. Seeing the way panelists responded to questions and comments was invigorating. I could see how passionate they were about their work and how confident they were with presenting their findings. I knew that I wanted to be like them one day and I was able to leave certain, now more than ever, that I was on the right path to get there.

Overall, I am happy that I got the chance to experience this type of conference at this time in my life. I was able to build a new network filled with dynamic individuals that want to make a difference in the world. I not only met inspirational individuals but was also able to make good friends with people who can provide advice and support. I am looking forward to whatever comes next for me.

“I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.” – Tim Tebow

Temitope Akintimehin received her Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Management from Towson University in 2014. She is currently a first-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health.  She plans to graduate in May 2019. Her interests include maternal and infant health, health and racial disparities, global health, and community health.  She also enjoys watching foreign films, going to the beach, listening to live music and dancing.


November 22, 2017 at 11:47 am Leave a comment

Compounding vulnerabilities

Many of our students attended this year’s meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), held in Atlanta, November 4 – 8. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Rachel Shea, BSPH

Downtown Atlanta welcomed APHA attendees with banners

Through Tulane CEMCH I was able to attend my first APHA conference in Atlanta, Georgia. While we had discussed prior to going the basic format of the conference, I was not sure what to expect for my personal experience at this conference. Overall I enjoyed APHA and look forward to attending future conferences.

I primarily focused on the maternal and child health oral and poster presentations. My favorite was a town hall titled Substance Abuse and Opioids: The Maternal and Child Perspective. The opioid epidemic in the United States is a public health crisis and must be addressed across all fields in public health. In particular, women may be vulnerable to legal prosecution if they struggle with addiction and become pregnant. A lawyer from Advocates for Pregnant Women spoke about the need for legal and medical advocacy for women in this position. In many cases the opioid use in question was doctor prescribed; they were also prescribed methadone for during the pregnancy if they cannot detox on their own. In some states, if the infant is born with NAS the mother may be arrested for “harming the child” even if the methadone use was doctor prescribed. Ironically, in the majority of these states there were laws in place which make it difficult to access abortion services, putting mothers in an unbelievably difficult position.  With such poor maternal mortality and infant mortality rates in the United States, we must acknowledge any way we can work to improve the health of mothers and children and advocate for our vulnerable populations. This presentation gave me a unique perspective on this issue.

I also enjoyed working at the Tulane alumni booth as I got to connect with alumni and current students with similar interests. A few recommended organizations to connect with for future internships and jobs, which I appreciated.

Rachel Shea is a first year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2019. Her interests include sexual health, HIV/AIDS, mental health and substance abuse.  She also loves dogs, music, and living in New Orleans.


November 21, 2017 at 8:46 am Leave a comment

Putting the pieces together

Many of our students attended this year’s meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), held in Atlanta, November 4 – 8. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Tylar Williams, BS, CHES

Tylar Williams at APHA

This was my first time attending APHA, so I had no idea what to expect. I was forewarned that the conference can be overwhelming with all the different sessions to attend, and advised to create a plan. This was the best advice I could have received, because even with my planned schedule of events, I still found myself blown away by all the options. I attended many different sessions during the conference, but two really resonated with me.

The first was a session titled “African-American Women: Maternal Child Health- Reproduction, Prenatal and Motherhood.” There were 4 different presentations during this session, but my absolute favorite was by Jaye Clement, MPH/MPP. She talked in depth about the design and outcomes of their enhanced model of group prenatal care, Women-Inspired Neighborhood (WIN) Network Detroit. It was inspiring to hear about a model of prenatal care that is non-traditional and is having a positive impact on the birth outcomes of African-American women. Her talk showed me that it’s possible to combine my passions in public health with my passions in nurse-midwifery. I was familiar with the Centering Pregnancy model, but tailoring it to vulnerable African-American women and including community health workers as co-facilitators was innovative to me. During the session all I could think about was figuring out if there were similar programs here in New Orleans and if not, how can I bring one here. After the session ended, I could not wait to exchange information with her.

The second session was titled “Black Mamas Matter! Reclaiming Maternal and Reproductive Health.” This session had five different presentations, and it was the first session where I found myself too enthralled to take notes. This session focused on the intersection of race and power and their effects on reproductive justice. Prior to this session I had some knowledge of the historical context behind why the current racial inequities in maternal mortality exist, but I left knowing so much more. It was also interesting to be in an MCH session that focused solely on the mothers. I think a lot of times we frame the conversations in MCH around the infant and child outcomes, so it was refreshing to hear things from a new perspective. I also learned about different Black women-led initiatives that I want to become involved with. I also found a few new books to add to my reading list that focus on reproductive and birth justice.

In all, I enjoyed my experience at APHA. It provided me with the chance to network with people from all walks of life and at different stages in their public health careers. This conference was special to me because I likely would not have met the amazing people I did this weekend under normal circumstances. I like to think of my life as a giant puzzle. I have all the pieces, but I am just not sure how they all fit together. I left APHA feeling like I’ve put some of the pieces together and it is an amazing feeling. I am excited to see what next year has to offer!

Tylar Williams is a first-year MPH student concentrating in Maternal and Child Health and plans to graduate in May 2019. She received a bachelor’s degree in Health Education from Howard University in 2016. She is CHES certified. Her interests include nursing, midwifery, prenatal and postpartum care, and improving reproductive and sexual health education in the Black community. She loves cooking, spending time with her friends and family, traveling, and taking her dog, Millie, on walks.

November 20, 2017 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

Shifting from “not my favorite conference” to “I will definitely come back next year!”

Many of our students attended this year’s meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), held in Atlanta, November 4 – 8. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Alejandra Leyton, MPH

Presenter Alejandra Leyton, Shokufeh Ramirez, and moderator Sofia Curdumi Pendley

As a first-time participant at APHA, I decided to seek advice on how to seize this opportunity. While a diversity of messages was received, “not my favorite conference” was the one that struck me the most. The overwhelming number of exhibits, and oral and poster presentations was the main reason some colleagues couldn’t enjoy the number one conference of Public Health professionals in the U.S. This sounded like a challenge, but always having a bottle of water, a working app, comfortable shoes, and the desire to connect with others who share my same interests has allowed me to rate APHA as “I will definitely come back next year!”

The interactive format of the Greg Alexander Speed Networking breakfast was perfect to learn about the research of 30+ maternal and child experts in less than 60 minutes. Even when it seemed that the 1.5 minutes per introduction was not enough time to get to know someone’s work, it allowed me to connect with an expert in the methods I have been trying (but failing) to learn for the past year; as well as to find a dataset that could be useful for my dissertation. With similar experiences during the oral presentations, the last night at APHA I found myself having dinner with two strong, smart, and motivated PhD students from University of Maryland. The fact that we met at APHA for the first time did not stop us from talking about ways on how we could write papers together, and by doing so, bring our institutions together.

Finally, while oral presentations presented the perfect opportunity to admire, critically assess and excitedly learn from top notch researchers, I would like to share my favorite experience. During an International Health session, we learned that women in rural Guatemala reject Pap smears when pregnant, fearing that the baby could get a disease from the sample collection. Therefore, providers do not even offer the service to pregnant women anymore. This opened the floor for waves of questions, comments and suggestions: What is the role of health providers as educators? When will we shift from pap smears to HPV tests for women in remote locations? Why are some leaders only aiming for one pap smear in a woman’s lifetime? Not only was the discussion exciting and energizing, but it also reminded me that although we have endless problems affecting people’s and communities’ wellbeing, there are also endless possibilities to help them through policy, supply side interventions, and behavior change approaches.

Alejandra Leyton is a third-year PhD student in the department of Global Community Health and Behavioral sciences. With a background in Economics, her research interests include the triangulation of Qualitative and Quantitative Methods, women’s health, behavior change, and health inequalities among vulnerable populations. 

November 17, 2017 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

Networking for Social Justice

Several of our MPH students attended the 2017 CityMatCH MCH Leadership Conference & Healthy Start Convention, held September 18-20, in Nashville, Tennessee. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Jordan Stephens-Moseley, BA

Kathy Morris of Crescent City PIC Healthy Start, Jordan Stephens-Moseley, Denise Evans of Spectrum Health, and Kiara Cruz

Conferences are both intimidating and energizing in my opinion. There is an expectation to network with people who you wish to seek help to further your professional career, but this is also the same reason conferences can be energizing. What you don’t expect from a conference is to finally level the field between students, researchers, doctors, and health professional of all levels. CityMatCH allowed for me to no longer feel intimidated to ask questions and have thought-provoking conversations that not only challenged others to think differently about the work they do in Maternal and Child health but also challenged me.

The opening and closing sessions at CityMatCH really allowed me to think about how I want to be viewed as a public health professional. The professionals who I was there to learn from seemed to be growing as much as I was, so when I listened to presentations on research and program interventions, I could contribute to the conversation as well. I could talk about the opening and closing sessions which reinvigorated my commitment to naming racism and calling out persons on their implicit bias, but meeting the people who served on the panels of these session is what captivated my attention. Within their relatable personal stories and public health experiences, I saw where I was on the right track and how I could push myself further. The goal was not only to walk away with new relationships and possible career ideas, but to really examine what I want to achieve in Maternal and Child health and what truly inspires me to do this work.

Jordan Stephens-Moseley, Kiara Cruz, Shokufeh Ramirez, Shanice Roache

Imagine walking into a hotel resort where the extravagance of the resort is shown through the glass ceiling, an indoor water show, and the indoor boat ride. Upon arrival, there is no way I would have thought I would be taking my own boat ride to find my purpose as a public health professional in Maternal and Child health.


Jordan Stephens-Moseley is a second-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2018. Her interests include women’s health, sexual health, reproductive rights & justice, and the integration of race justice in clinical health & public health initiatives.  She also loves dancing, cooking, music, reading, photography, and watching film & TV.


October 31, 2017 at 9:35 am Leave a comment

Foundations of health

Several of our MPH students attended the 2017 CityMatCH MCH Leadership Conference & Healthy Start Convention, held September 18-20, in Nashville, Tennessee. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

by Kara Hoffman, BS

Coming in to the CityMatCH conference this year, I was not sure exactly what to expect. However, within moments of the opening plenary session beginning I knew that I was going to have a life-changing experience in Nashville. The conference as a whole placed an emphasis on the role of public health professionals in changing the current national dialogue around racism, both on the systemic and individual levels. The multitude of ways in which racism in America affects health outcomes is truly astounding – and I know as a future healthcare provider and public health professional that I need to take a stand for my patients and for the health of the entire nation.

One of the first sessions I went to was about housing inequities. Several panelists presented their work, all coming from different parts of the country yet all showing the same results: the color of a person’s skin negatively affects their ability to get fair, good quality, affordable housing regardless of their socioeconomic standing. One of the presenters, who works in the affordable housing sector in Cincinnati, said, “The home is the foundation of health. If we want to really improve the health of Americans in this current moment, we need to address the housing issues at play today. That means looking at everything from why the housing markets are failing in some of our cities, to realizing that people will give up almost anything – even food – before they will give up their shelter. Without a safe home, no woman or child will be in good health. Period.”

This really struck a cord with me because I had worked throughout college with some homeless services in the Washington, D.C. area and had never once thought about the fact that just a home is not good enough. People need safe homes that are lead and mold and parasite free in order to be truly healthy, both mentally and physically. As I embark on the next steps of my career journey, I will always keep at the forefront of my practice as a public health nurse that it is critical for people to be living in safe homes, and working to address this issue in my interactions with them in any way that I can. Coalitions need to be formed and strengthened between the public health and housing sectors in order to connect people to the resources they need to find affordable, safe housing for their families, and I hope to contribute to this movement throughout the rest of my life.

Kara Hoffman received her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science from The George Washington University in 2013. She is currently a second-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health, and she plans to graduate in December 2017. She will be attending nursing school in January to become a public health nurse. Her interests include improving access to health care services, child and adolescent health, and holistic family health. She also enjoys doing yoga, going hiking, and spending time outside with her dog!


October 30, 2017 at 8:33 am Leave a comment

CityMatCH Was My Match

Several of our MPH students attended the 2017 CityMatCH MCH Leadership Conference & Healthy Start Convention, held September 18-20, in Nashville, Tennessee. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Shanice Roach, BSPH

Shanice Roache at CityMatCH

Day 1 started with the first open plenary: Advancing Equity and Human Rights through Reproductive Justice, which was a wonderful opening, to a wonderful conference. The panelists spoke on everything from the criminalization of poverty to the environmental threats. A quote that one of the panelists stated that stayed with Shanice through the whole conference, paraphrasing Audre Lorde, was “we cannot have single issue movements, because we do not live single issue lives.” No matter what Shanice does in life this quote will continue to stay with her. The conference ended with the third plenary: Challenges in Achieving Health Equity: Addressing Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, and Stereotype Threat. This plenary explained that implicit bias is something that our brain does automatically even if it does not match what we have explicitly stated. The panelists even discussed the importance of showing different images and not just associating bad habits with African Americans.

Whether it was the cool Nashville air or the fact that everyone at the conference was lost together (in the huge hotel/convention center) at one point or another, this had to be one of the most diverse and inclusive conferences she has ever attended. As a second year Shanice always knew that she would enter the “real world” soon, but it did not sink in until she experienced CityMatCH. Individuals at this conference did not treat her as a student or someone below them, they made her feel like a colleague, as if she was in the field as long as they were. They were all in Nashville together to fight for something they were all passionate about and it was at that moment that she had a calming feeling. She was ready for the MCH world, but was the MCH world ready for her?

Shanice Roache is a second-year MPH student, concentrating in Global Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2018. Her interests include preterm births in African American women, breastfeeding, perinatal/infant health and reproductive justice. She is learning to love working out and enjoys cooking.

October 27, 2017 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts Newer Posts

Follow us on Twitter



wordpress stat