Posts tagged ‘networking’

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.

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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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

Finding a Family in Family Planning

IMG_2833By Miranda Pollock, BS

A conference with 12,000 attendees left my expectations for APHA in an overwhelmed fashion. The conference would be HUGE and full of topics I wanted to hear. However, I went in with a plan. I knew exactly what I wanted to hear, and the types of networking events I wanted to attend. All of those expectations were fulfilled, but included some pleasant surprises, and even some disappointments.

After attending the MCH-specific networking dinner on Saturday night, I was shocked at how cozy the MCH section was. This group of 50 or so was not overwhelming at all! The networking continued into Sunday morning, where I met several professionals and other students who will soon become colleagues from this home-base MCH section. I recognized faces from the dinner the night before, and in a sea of 12,000 I started to find a family. Later that day, I attended sessions and met with a new Chicago MCH contact via Tulane Career Services. With her recommendation, I attended the MCH social hour where again, I saw familiar faces. Even though I am not an MCH fellow, because I showed interest in the fellowship program and happened to network with the right people, I got an inside scoop to the fellowship program and even sat in on their orientation!

Some of the scientific sessions I attended were informative and inspiring, while others were disappointing. The session on Teen Pregnancy Prevention led to a narrowing of my focus in MCH and I made some connections to the West Coast. In addition, the session on women’s health politics was eye-opening; however, the sessions about neoliberalism and breastfeeding were dull and left me wanting more. All in all, I realized that my favorite part of APHA was networking. I am fascinated with people to begin with; put me in a comfortable space with other fired up women’s health advocates, and watch out: I’ll be asking for your business card!

Miranda Pollock is a first year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. Her background is in human biology and environmental microbiology. She plans to graduate in May 2017. Her interests include teen pregnancy prevention, STI prevention, and community collaboration. She also loves the arts, cycling, yoga, and meeting new people.

 

November 23, 2015 at 8:40 am Leave a comment

Making my time count

FullSizeRender-2By Megan Carroll, BS, BA

A packed lecture schedule in one hand and a thick book of program materials in the other, I entered the convention center for APHA ready to have my life changed. An entire conference surrounded by other public health professionals and students? I had to make this time count. I’d heard urban legends of folks who find jobs and careers through APHA, and I was ready to add myself to that number.

As aversive as the word “networking” may be, I was surprised to find how easy it was to make new connections at APHA. Whether schmoozing in the Expo or commiserating over the coffee line (and even one quick friendship while waiting to go through airport security with our matching APHA tote bags), people attend the conference with the goal of meeting their like-minded peers for possible future collaboration. As a graduate student, my own goals were seemingly much more focused: I was on the prowl for doctoral programs and government organizations. And I was certainly not disappointed with the selection at the expo — I ran into an old interviewer from Columbia, and a fellow Blue Hen alumna now working as a representative at Johns Hopkins. It was comforting to know that while I was new to the world of public health, the transitions handled themselves.

No one should ever turn down a chance to visit Chicago, and the APHA annual meeting was a great introduction to the city. In fact, I loved the Windy City so much that I’ve added it to my shrinking list of future cities to job-hunt in after graduation. I’m thankful to APHA not only for my new collection of business cards and connections, but for setting my sights on Chicago!

Megan Carroll is a first-year MPH student studying Maternal and Child Health at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Her primary interests include sexual and reproductive health with a focus in HIV/AIDS eradication, and she anticipates a career in governmental health administration after graduating in May 2017.

 

November 20, 2015 at 8:38 am Leave a comment


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