Posts tagged ‘CityMatCH’

Gaining a New Perspective

Several of our MPH students attended the 2018 CityMatCH Leadership and MCH Epidemiology Conference, held September 12-14, in Portland, Oregon. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Temitope Akintimehin, BS

CEMCH Scholars Temitope Akintimehin and Tylar Williams with Scholar Alum Rachel Powell and fellow CityMatch attendee Eilish Neely

After having such a great experience at the APHA conference last year, I was very torn about deciding on whether I wanted to go back to a conference I had previously attended or attend a new one this time. I wanted to take this opportunity to use this conference experience to get more insight into my career path and the options that are possible within the field of Public Health. Since CityMatCH is a significantly smaller conference, I was informed that it would provide a setting for deeper connections with more people. I was very open-minded about going and was pleasantly happy with my decision to go.

The sessions that immediately caught my interest were those addressing health disparities in minority populations, social determinants of health, and preconception care. I recently completed my summer practicum on a project focused on preconception care and its impacts on groups from different socioeconomic backgrounds in Suriname, so having the chance to connect what I had learned from that experience to what the speakers were saying was very inspiring for me. The panel speakers were able to go in depth about the programs that they implemented and how the data from them show how much racial inequalities have an impact on women’s and children’s health, especially in minority populations. These topics and concerns opened the floor to multiple discussions where other professionals from various areas of public health were able to give and take advice amongst their colleagues.

The professionals varied from department of health workers to program directors, and even though they may have been at different levels, it was clear to see that there were multiple similarities in the work they did within the field of public health. It was good to see how each position had its own part to play and in what capacity. After using this opportunity to talk with people and hearing their stories, I feel like I am able to get a better idea of where I can see myself working in public health and incorporating all of my interests.


Temitope Akintimehin is a second-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2019. Her interests include sexual and reproductive health, preconception care health and racial disparities, global health, and community health. She is involved in the community and enjoys volunteering.


October 16, 2018 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

CityMatCH 2018: Matching my MCH goals to career opportunities

Several of our MPH students attended the 2018 CityMatCH Leadership and MCH Epidemiology Conference, held September 12-14, in Portland, Oregon. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Kiley Mayfield, BSW

Slide from the presentation of Alyshia Macaysa, program manager of Baby Booster, during the “Collectively Building the Table: Lessons Learned from Engaging Multi-Sector Partners and Residents” session. The slide illustrates social determinants and the necessary actions to overcome them.

Prior to my CityMatCH arrival, I was a ball of nerves. I was anxious and nervous about what to expect, how to act, what to do, and even what to say. As a true over-thinker and over-analyzer, I knew the feelings would not dissipate until I arrived. I had to put my best foot forward because these were potential employers and coworkers that I was going to meet. If I needed to be perfect at any conference, CityMatCH was the one because it was about maternal and child health (MCH) in urban environments — the exact area of MCH that I want to work in. I would be surrounded by professionals who may currently, or in the past, do the same things that I aspire to do. So, to soothe my anxiousness I rehearsed lines to say and ways to react to different scenarios. Spoiler alert: when the curtains opened none of my rehearsed lines or actions were used, but I didn’t freeze. I used the things I practiced as references. My prepared script included my interests in public health, where I was from, why I’m interested in public health, school, CEMCH, etc. — basically everything I needed to make a great first impression.

When I arrived at CityMatCH, and especially after witnessing the Keynote Speaker — Dr. Galea — speak, I knew everything would go just fine. Dr. Galea set the tone as he made his speech on equity and the importance of health versus health care with a relaxed, personable, and humorous tone. Everyone that I came in contact held the same demeanor as he did — relaxed, personable, and sometimes humorous. The speakers covered heavy topics with a lightness that provoked my thought and piqued my interest. One session, in particular, that stood out immediately was the Collectively Building the Table: Lessons Learned from Engaging Multi-Sector Partners and Residents session. There were three speakers, two from Best Babies Zone and one from Baby Booster. Each speaker covered ways to include non-MCH sectors and engage communities to address social determinants and reach MCH goals. They provided tips on breaking down barriers and gaining trust to create sustainable programs. This session was important to me because I want to work with the people I serve in some capacity.

All in all, every session that I attended caused me to think about how the topics related to what I ultimately want to do, and how I could implement that information into my work. I left with a wealth of knowledge and a few new contacts in the MCH realm. CityMatCH matched my expectations, then quickly surpassed them.

Kiley Mayfield is a second-semester MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in August 2019. Her interests include Black maternal health in marginalized and oppressed communities, health equity, breastfeeding advocacy, postpartum care and community support, and mandated paid parental leave. She also loves singing, poetry, and laser tag.

October 15, 2018 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

Tales from a City MatCH First-timer

Several of our MPH students attended the 2018 CityMatCH Leadership and MCH Epidemiology Conference, held September 12-14, in Portland, Oregon. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Tylar Williams, BS

The 2018 CityMatCH Leadership & MCH Epidemiology Conference had the theme of “Partnering with Purpose: Data, Programs, and Policies for Healthy Mothers, Children and Families”

This year I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 CityMatCH Leadership and MCH Epidemiology Conference in Portland, Oregon. I had a wonderful time meeting and connecting with different leaders in MCH and learning more about what new things are happening in the field. Dr. Sandro Galea opened the conference with a wonderful talk challenging us to take a deeper look at the way we talk about health in this country and gave us five things that we should talk about when we talk about health. He said that first we need to stop using health and healthcare interchangeably because they have different meanings. We then need to 1) talk about what causes health, 2) pay attention to emerging pathology, 3) invest in prevention, 4) focus on underlying social conditions, and 5) address persistent health gaps. I enjoyed his speech and left feeling super pumped about what was to come over the next three days.

After all of the opening activities I attended a session on innovation and improvement of prenatal care. Generally, the literature supports group prenatal care for its effects on improving birth outcomes, so this session was aimed at sharing the success stories of this model in different locations. I learned about a program called Moms2B based in Ohio. The program aims to address racial disparities in prenatal care and uses a community-based model much like CenteringPregnancy. I love how this program also works to address different social determinants that play a role in birth outcomes. For example, they partner with their local food bank to address food insecurity and have mobile clinics that come to the sites monthly to aid with access to primary care.

On day two, I attended a presentation by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. I was introduced to this organization last year at the annual American Public Health Association meeting, so I was really excited to hear about what they accomplished over the last year. I also heard from the National Birth Equity Collaborative during this session. It’s always really inspiring to see women who look like me working in this field and really making a difference. I also loved their motto: listen to Black women, trust Black women, and invest in Black women. Later that evening I had the chance to meet with past CEMCH scholars and explore a little bit of Portland. I had a great time and Portland is definitely on my list of places to visit again.

For the last day I attended a session called Maternal Voices and it was probably my favorite session ofthe entire conference. All of the presenters spoke about how there needs to be a shift in our attitudes towards women and how it’s really important that we give them a voice and listen. We’re starting to hear more public stories now about how healthcare providers aren’t listening to women, especially women of color, when it comes to their healthcare. This can lead to outcomes that otherwise would have been prevented. It was awesome to hear these stories and I hope that as women continue to become more vocal about the care they recieve, we can start to change this behavior. Overall, City MatCH was a great time and I’m looking forward to next year’s conference! 🙂

Tylar Williams is a second-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, and traveling.

October 12, 2018 at 10:32 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

Intersectionality, partnership, and networking

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 Kiara Cruz, BSPH

“White Supremacy is the water that we all swim in.”– Corrine Sanchez, PhD,
Tewa Women United

Kiara Cruz at CityMatCH

There is no one or nothing that could have prepared me for the experience I would have at the 2017 CityMatCH Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. As a public health student interested in Maternal and Child Health I was not prepared for the self-reflection, inspiring catharsis, and passion refill I experienced.

The three main points I want to highlight in which I will go more in depth are the following:

  • Reproductive Justice includes an intersectionality and human rights framework.
  • Community Partnership is essential for effective program and interventions
  • Networking is key to building professional and career relationships

The opening plenary: Advancing Equity and Human Rights through Reproductive Justice was the perfect opening for this conference. This session had reproductive justice leaders including Monica Simpson, Executive Director of SisterSong; Corrine Sanchez, Executive Director of Tewa Women United; and Laura Jimenez, Executive Director of Latina for Reproductive Justice. All women of color from different backgrounds. This opening was very interesting to me because I never thought of reproductive justice through the lens of intersectionality. The systems of oppression that are in place like racism, incarceration, immigration laws, the criminalization of poverty and white supremacy are all part of the waters we swim in. The goal is to research and understand how these systems play and how they infiltrate the various areas of our life, and the populations we serve as public health professionals. Understanding that these systems may not be as visible and may need some digging in order to see any limitations in place. There cannot be limitations to have full decision making power when it comes to our health, our choices, and our rights. Overall, it is our duty to disrupt the systems of oppression that fill the water in which we swim.

I attended various sections and workshops on Community Engagement, an area of focus I hope to work in. The main takeaway I received was that communities can take care of themselves. We can engage communities by building community leadership within the community. Some ways include strengthening the community’s economy by providing trainings and job opportunities in the community for residents, having an asset-based approach, and valuing the communities’ expertise. Communities know what works best, what doesn’t, and the rhythm to which the community beats its drums. Letting go of the old ways public health approaches community engagement and trusting the process of collective impact. The most effective impact is through community driven programs.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” – African Proverb

Hearing and speaking with powerful, public health professionals, women of color really inspired me and reminded me why I decided to embark in this field. It was truly amazing to have meaningful interactions with people that I aspire to be. For example, I met with various people from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (one of the places I hope to work), Healthy Start Brooklyn. Having a network of women or individuals that can provide guidance, advice, and support as you maneuver through career and life obstacles is important. This conference granted me the opportunity to gain new mentors from which I hope to learn. I hope the public health field is ready because I am prepping for my mark.

Kiara Cruz is a second year MPH student and a scholar in the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health at Tulane.  She received a bachelor degree in Public Health from the University of Rochester and continues her passion for working in public health by interning at the Covenant House. Her interests include prenatal and postpartum care, community health, maternal and infant health, and monitoring and evaluation of MCH interventions.



October 26, 2017 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

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