Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hello, my name is....

“You always come out of this conference with a wealth of knowledge,” said Larissa Estes, a three-time APHA Annual Meeting attendee from Houston, Texas, who was looking over the final program with colleague Robert Hines outside the registration area in the Washington Convention Center this morning.

Rise Goldstein, from Bethesda, Md., is presenting a poster on mental health research tomorrow and said the meeting gives her a chance to network and learn.

“I’m looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues I haven’t seen in many years and wanting to see what’s new in the world, professionally,” she said.

That professional teaching is a key draw for many, including Theresa Mieh, an HIV/AIDS researcher from State College, Pa.

“I’m here to listen to presentations from experts in the field and learn from them to see how to better my own research,” she said.

Richard Chambers, who works for Pfizer and is from Collegeville, Pa., said lessons learned from the biostatistics sessions at past APHA Annual Meetings have translated to positive changes at his workplace. He said the statistics-related sessions at APHA touch on topics not found elsewhere, such as dealing with large populations and missing data.

“If a group stays among themselves, the thinking stays inbred,” Chambers said about the importance of attending a meeting where diverse ideas circulate. “We have to mix and mingle to keep people from thinking in silos.”

Patricia Daugherty, a newly minted MPH and new APHA member from Blacksburg, Va. (go, Hokies!), was excited but a bit overwhelmed while perusing the Annual Meeting program this morning.

“I hope to take away a whole lot more knowledge from different aspects of public health,” she said. “I also brought my resume and I’m hoping to have someone critique it. And I’m looking for a job.”

New member Benjamin Keeney from the University of Washington is both presenting two posters and participating in an oral session, but also hopes to spend the next few days “learning a lot, meeting new people, soaking it in.”

If you’re in need of some help navigating the meeting, come to the New Member/First-Timer Orientation session from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Salon H of the convention center. What do you hope to take away from this year’s meeting (besides public health swag from the Expo)? Let us know in the comments section below.

— D.C.

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