Posts tagged ‘conference’

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

Behind every great person is… a person

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.

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

Little professional in a sea of excellence

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 Jordan Stephens-Moseley, BA

Before attending APHA, I had never gone to an academic/professional conference of that magnitude. The conference was overwhelming at times and inspiring during others, but overall I took away many learning experiences.

Each session drew in different crowds which allowed me to meet different people, but networking was not the easiest task. Most of the time I felt like I was a student in a classroom but I had to save my questions until the end. Other times I felt like I could have a stimulating conversation with the presenters of each session. Most sessions did not invite conversations among professionals even after the sessions were finished. The mixture of haste to attend as many interesting sessions and the recurring element of running out of time made it nearly impossible to meet new people.

I found that the most stimulating talks were the roundtable discussions and scientific sessions on refugee health and displaced persons. In the roundtable discussions, I had stimulating conversations that discussed studies that allowed me to see what other possibilities I could explore in my field in connection with refugee health. The complexity of displaced persons and refugee health is intriguing because it involves knowledge about history of these persons and an understanding of politics.

At the end of the conference, I was delighted by the possibilities that await me in public health. The sessions in the conference allowed me to broaden my conception of maternal and child health. I will still focus on my passions in women’s health, infant & maternal mortality, and reproductive rights, but I have now expanded on the populations I wish to serve.

Jordan Stephens-Moseley is a first-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2018. Her interests include women’s rights, birthing practices and outcomes, reproductive health, and health advocacy of disadvantaged populations. She loves to dance, watch movies/tv, read, and travel for relaxation and public service.

November 22, 2016 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

My AHA moment

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 Shanice Roache, BSPH

Having never been to a conference I was not sure what to expect. I entered this huge convention center where people walked with confidence from session to session; everyone seemed to know what they wanted to do.

Throughout APHA, I got small aha! moments; one of the most memorable moments was during day two – Monday. The special guest speaker during the opening general session was Cecile Richards; however my small aha! moment came during Dr. Camara Jones’ speech. She spoke about launching a campaign against racism. She broke racism down into simple terms that anyone could understand. She gave the antidote of the open and closed sign as well as the red and pink flowers. After her speech I was inspired, but how exactly could I apply what I learned if I had no idea what I wanted to do?

Entering day three I felt defeated. I went through the conference and… nothing – I had yet to find my major aha! moment. Black Women’s Health Matters was a session where I found my aha! moment. Dr. Valerie L. Rochester gave an impressive presentation on reproductive justice of Black women. I was so captivated by her presentation that I was unable to take notes. She spoke about the fact that reproductive justice was a term that African-Americans came up with. She stated that we cannot empower women, but can give them the information and have enough faith that they can empower themselves. Reproductive justice is a new term to me and I will continue to do research in order to better understand it and to find out what I can do to make this dream, of helping others empower themselves, a reality.

Shanice Roache is a first year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2018. She received a bachelor degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her interests include global health, perinatal health, health inequities that impact Black women, sexual and reproductive health in Black women, teen mothers and paternal involvement in pregnancy outcomes. She also loves reading and cooking.

November 21, 2016 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

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