Tuesday, June 26, 2012

So many reasons, too little time

People come to APHA meetings for all kinds of reasons. Networking, learning, presenting, celebrating. North Carolina resident Paul Jung, a member of the U.S. Public Health Service, needed to get his APHA fix. He said he came to this year's Midyear Meeting to get a "boost to hold me through until the APHA Annual Meeting in the fall…and since it's in my backyard, it made it even easier."

Jung says he's most interested in the meeting's public health workforce track. He's hoping to discover some innovative ways that the U.S. Public Health Service can effectively work with local public health folks. And, he said he's looking forward to catching up with fellow service members from around the country.

Joy Reed, a fellow North Carolina resident attending from Raleigh, is at the Midyear Meeting for a couple reasons. First, she's come to promote the first enumeration study of public health nurses since the 1950s. Reed, who's the public health nursing director for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said the study will gather data on numbers, demographics as well as job descriptions for the country's public health nurses.

If you want more info on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded study, which is just beginning to roll out, introduce yourself to Reed. She's easy to spot — she's the one wearing a pin that says "Public Health Nurse. Count Me In."

"The networking is the biggest benefit for me," she said.

Of course, Reed said it'll be nice to be with fellow public healthers when the Supreme Court's health reform decision comes down on Thursday.

Michael Meit, co-director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, flew into Charlotte to present during a session on health equity. But he said he's also excited about coming together with fellow public health practitioners to "think strategically" about public health's future. Meit will be presenting on the issues and struggles confronting America's rural communities, where he said public health is often nonexistent or underdeveloped.

Meit said that while "I love public health — it's what I do," he does believe the field needs to make more of an effort to connect with rural communities. In fact, he said that public health overlooks rural communities to its own detriment, as rural residents tend to be very active in politics and have a stronger voice with their representatives. We need to start a different dialogue, Meit said.

"We need to change the dialogue from government and taxes to clean water, safe food, healthy children and healthy families," he said.

Health department accreditation is what's piquing Noble Maseru's interest here in Charlotte. The health commissioner for the city of Cincinnati, Maseru said he's also hoping to learn about new approaches to prevention as well as new ways to partner with the clinical sector. He's hoping Thursday's Supreme Court decision will be a time of "jubilation."

Catherine Bolek, director of sponsored research at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, traveled to Charlotte to search for new grant opportunities — or as she called it, "I'm chasing the dollar."

Why did you decide to come to Charlotte? Let us know in the comments section below!

1 comment:

Susan said...

Ideas and energy!