Posts tagged ‘AMCHP 2017’

Renewed by coaching

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), held this year March 4 – 7, in Kansas City, MO. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Thea Lange, BA

Although attending the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) Annual Conference helped me develop new skills and knowledge to bring back to New Orleans, the highlight of my experience was an impromptu coaching session.

I have always appreciated the value of coaching and mentoring programs but, prior to this experience, I have never attended a conference that offers coaching sessions to its attendees. When I learned that coaching was available at AMCHP, I immediately signed up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one excited about the opportunity. I was put on a waitlist and assumed I would have to wait until next year for my coaching session.

Luckily, on Monday afternoon I received an email telling me that a slot had opened up!  Too busy with skills-building sessions to prepare for my coaching appointment (but unwilling to pass on the opportunity), I walked in underprepared. To my surprise, that didn’t matter. In fact, my session was more fruitful because I didn’t have time to overthink.

During the session, my coach asked me a series of questions about my professional and personal aspirations. Through mirroring my tone and body language, she helped me feel confident about my plans for the next few years. Speaking with her gave me a renewed sense of purpose and passion for the work I am doing. I left the coaching session and AMCHP excited to get back to New Orleans and get to work.

 

Thea Lange is a second-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She received a bachelor degree in Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College and continues to integrate her undergraduate background into her public health work. Her interests include early childhood education, criminal justice reform, and trauma-informed care.

April 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm Leave a comment

Health Equity in Maternal and Child Health

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), held this year March 4 – 7, in Kansas City, MO. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Alexis Robles, BA

The 2017 AMCHP Conference in Kansas City was the first conference I attended as a graduate student at Tulane University. I was made aware of this conference through my internship in health equity with the Louisiana Office of Public Health – Bureau of Family Health. The theme of the AMCHP Conference was Engagement with Intention: Inclusivity, Diversity, & Non-Traditional Partnerships. This theme fit perfectly with my work as the BFH Health Equity Intern and I submitted a proposal to present on undoing implicit bias, which was accepted as a poster presentation. The theme of the overall conference was incredibly important to me and inspiring. Public Health professionals from across the country gathered to discuss and share information on diversity, equity, and inclusivity in Maternal and Child Health.

I was exceptionally lucky to be able to participate in the Radical Justice 101: Building the Capacity of MCH to Advance Racial Equity: Putting Concepts into Action daylong session. This session struck me with its participant diversity as it included public health professionals from all different backgrounds, from pediatricians, Title V coordinators, and epidemiologists, to doulas, students, and community health workers. From these different professional backgrounds, we all came together to focus on individual and organizational skill building as it relates to health equity. It was inspiring to see the collaboration across states, professions, gender, races, and languages in the room as we discussed the heavy but necessary topic of racial justice, racial equity, and health equity. Overall, I left this session inspired to join the MCH public health community and with much needed skills on talking about race constructively and authentically engaging both community and partners on social justice issues.

This session combined with the overall theme and accompanying sessions at this conference left me inspired and hopeful for the future of diversity and equity in MCH. I have a renewed passion and sense of purpose to continue this work in my personal and professional life. This conference was an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow while seeing firsthand the quality of work being produced across the nation.

Alexis Robles is a third-year MPH student with a concentration in Community Health Sciences and a certificate in Program Management, with an interest in Maternal and Child Health.  She plans to graduate in May 2017. Her professional background is in community health, particularly with vulnerable and sensitive populations and health policy. Her research interests include health equity, health disparities, racial equity, and social justice. Alexis loves watching horror and sci-fi films and collecting indie bath and body products. She spends her free time with her rescue dog visiting as many parks as possible.

April 4, 2017 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

Building Better Brains

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), held this year March 4 – 7, in Kansas City, MO. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Francine Wood, BS

I jumped at the opportunity to attend the AMCHP conference. As a public health student, attending a public health focused conference was one of the milestones that I was encouraged to achieve prior to graduating. With this in mind, I was ecstatic to take advantage of all the sessions and networking opportunities available at the conference.

The first session, a skills building session, happened to be my favorite. The session, Building Better Brains: Using Partnership Early Brain Development to Impact Academic Success and Life-Long Health, focused on using the life course approach to improve the health outcomes during early childhood. The brain is not fully developed at birth and most of the structural development occurs between 3 – 5 years. Although, this is an important stage, brain development is an on-going process and development of different parts such as the frontal lobe can occur as late as age 25. Understanding these mechanisms as public health professionals is important but it is vital to explain the science of early brain development to stakeholders who impact the development of babies, children, teenagers and youth. One of the organizations that has been successful in driving positive change within these populations is the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS). The organization has engaged parents, legislators, government officials and other stakeholders to understand what promotes, derails and affects brain development using tools such as the Brain Architecture Game. GEEARS did not achieve its success in a silo, it partnered with the University of Georgia and had the support of the Georgia Department of Public Health. This shows the importance of leveraging partnerships both on the government and private level, and working towards a common goal.

Overall, the session was very insightful and it provided a practical application of the life course approach and other behavior change theories often discussed during my classes.

Francine Wood is a second-year MPH student in the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioural Sciences concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2017. Her interests include social and behaviour change communication, monitoring and evaluation, sexual and reproductive health, HIV and STIs.  She also loves travelling and immersing herself in new cultures, cooking and volunteering in her community.

 

March 29, 2017 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

Diversity, early childhood, and context

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), held this year March 4 – 7, in Kansas City, MO. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Fiona Ritchey, BS

The AMCHP 2017 Conference in Kansas City was the first conference I’ve attended specifically geared towards Maternal and Child Health, and I loved it. Having attended APHA the previous school year, I was looking forward to seeing what a smaller, more focused conference would be like. The overall theme for the conference was Engagement with Intention: Inclusivity, Diversity, & Non-Traditional Partnerships. During my time at Tulane I’ve come to better understand some of the strengths and limitations of the public health field as it stands today, and I truly believe that maximizing our impact going forward requires engaging diverse, non-traditional partnerships with intention. There will never be enough money, buy-in, or brilliant ideas for us in public health to successfully go it alone, particularly for the big, structural changes that are needed to promote health equity and eliminate racial disparities. So it was inspiring and invigorating to be among researchers and professionals who’ve reached the same conclusions and are working on creative ways to tackle our toughest, most intransigent issues.

The first day of activities was technically the pre-conference, and included skills-building sessions in the morning and afternoon. It was so refreshing to have a smaller, interactive learning experience at a conference, rather than sitting in an enormous meeting hall and maybe getting to ask a single question. The first skills-building session I attended was called Building Better Brains, presented by several folks from Georgia representing different organizations working together to improve early childhood systems in the state. Early childhood development is my area of interest, so I was excited and interested to see the success of their collaboration in another southern state with relatively similar challenges. We played an interactive brain-building game with pipe cleaners, straws, and weights that successfully made childhood neurodevelopment very accessible to a lay audience. I got lots of contact information at the session and I’m excited to share the game with folks I work with in New Orleans.

One session I was disappointed in was about cultural competence as a tool to reduce health disparities. While there was a fun, easy game at the beginning to encourage participants to think about the level of diversity in their lives, we got barely any time at all to discuss the results and why we might have found what we did. The presentation afterwards defined a trajectory of cultural competence that failed to address cultural humility, which I consider to be a key factor for predominantly white public health professionals that often work in communities of color. There was also an extended part of the presentation about “dimensions of different cultures” that basically reduced each culture to a stereotype. Luckily that afternoon I attended another session called Place, Race, Poverty, and Young children which provided a much more nuanced and contextual look at the role of race in early childhood systems and health disparities. Overall I think I gained some valuable knowledge and skills from AMCHP that will serve me as I enter the MCH workforce this summer. I’m excited to hear what my fellow scholars thought!

Fiona Ritchey is a second-year MPH student with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health and a certificate in Epidemiology. Her background is in psychiatric research, with a focus on mood and anxiety disorders. Her professional interests include early childhood development, mental health, policy, and health equity. Fiona is a cooking fanatic, and spends her free time researching recipes and cooking for friends and family.

March 28, 2017 at 10:41 am Leave a comment


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