Conference season cool down

Imagine a student’s brain as a goldfish (not a very complimentary metaphor). Next, imagine the (although obviously false) claim that a goldfish can expand concordant to the environment it’s placed in. That is precisely how I felt upon my return from the Oregon Public Health Association and American Public Health Association annual conferences earlier this year. My gratitude for the privilege of graduate school education, as well as the financial ability to travel (and the incredible “couch-surfing” generosity of family and friends) cannot be overstated. It made all the difference for my attendance at the Corvallis, Oregon and San Francisco, California “meetings of the minds.”

Although the OPHA conference was only two days and APHA only five, I feel as if these opportunities have afforded me the equivalent of a full term in my regular studies. Below are a few highlights from the innovative presentations I was able to attend…plus a really funny cat picture.

Oregon Public Health Association

  • “The built environment is social policy in concrete.” –Richard Jackson, Chair of Environmental Sciences at the UCLA School of Public Health

  • “Community water fluoridation is the foundation of effective oral public health policy.”  -Kurt Ferr and Charles Haynie, dentist and doctor team presenting Philomath, Oregon fluoridation
  • “Two men came into the Multnomah County E.R. blue as smurfs with chocolate-brown blood. These clusters of severe illness are related to designer drugs – they’re legally not sold for human consumption but are seen in gas stations, head shops and on the internet.” –Genevieve Buser, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer in Portland, Oregon
  1. “Driving to an appointment, understanding the treatment regimen, clinic hours, childcare and cost are all social determinants highly correlated with [hospital] re-admittance.” -Andres Cardenas, Statistical Consultant at Samaritan Health Services
  2. “Live the life you are promoting…assess health priorities, determine coalitions, pick initiatives and integrate physicians, nurses and health workers.” –Julia Young-Lorion, Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) Coordinator for Samaritan Health Services
  • “Create a shame-free environment by exercising universal precautions.” –Anna Jimenez, Medical Director and Physician at Wallace Medical Concern

American Public Health Association

  • “We are facing a tsunami of preventable chronic illness in this country. We need to blow up the artificial silos between medicine and public health.” -Reed Tuckson, Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group
  • “We have engineered physical activity out of our daily lives. Walking is medicine.” -Raymond Baxter, Senior Vice President for Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente
  • “Institutions have much longer memories than individuals, which is why racism is so vast.” –Angela Davis, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Humanities Division at University of California, Santa Cruz 
  • “History has shown that public health is a determined and mighty force in making the world a better place for everyone. Health is an economic engine. Government and health jobs prevented a deeper recession.” -Georges Benjamin, executive director of American Public Health Association
  • “Tobacco abolition is possible in communities as small as ten people, and they don’t even need to sell tobacco.” -Robert Proctor, Historian at Stanford University  and author of “Golden Holocaust
  • Health and Human Services directed hundreds of millions of dollars to programs that train primary care doctors, immunize teens, and support smoking cession.” –Ricky Choi, pediatrician and entrepreneur at an Oakland, California community health center
  • “We always talk about ROI (return on investment) in public health but we must remember to state our values of equity and how it’s just the right thing to do. True health reform hinges on prevention.” -Sana Chehimi with the Prevention Institute
Full APHA Calendar Available Here