The Charger Blog

Public Health Students Reflect on ‘Educational and Important Training’

The Connecticut Public Health Association recently hosted its annual Advocacy Training Day at the University of New Haven. It was an exciting opportunity for students to explore important topics in the field and to connect with public health leaders and policymakers.

February 20, 2024

By Vishwa Shah ’24 MPH, Chioma Nsude '24 MPH, and Emma Acampora ’24

Several members of the University’s School of Health Sciences pose for a photo side by side.
The Connecticut Public Health Association's Advocacy Training Day included several members of the University’s School of Health Sciences.

The University’s School of Health Sciences recently sponsored the Connecticut Public Health Association's Advocacy Training Day. The annual event, which was held at the University, brought together community members, public health professionals, and students. It enabled participants to explore important topics in public health such as policymaking, advocacy, and health equity.

The event was an immersive and rich learning opportunity for students, who had the opportunity to hear from leaders in the field and network with policymakers and healthcare professionals. Below, three students reflect on the experience.

Vishwa Shah ’24 MPH

The Connecticut Public Health Association recently organized an Advocacy Training Day at the University of New Haven. It was a seminar that helped public health students grow and nurture themselves for their present and future.

Vishwa Shah ’24 MPH.
Vishwa Shah ’24 MPH.

I am an intern with the Connecticut Public Health Association, and I served as a volunteer for this advocacy training program. I enjoyed it a lot, along with my colleagues, professors, guest speakers, and fellow University of New Haven students.

First, we distributed a kit from the Connecticut Public Health Association with a warm welcome. Later, a welcome speech was given by Ms. Tiffany Morrissey, executive director of the Connecticut Health Council.

After that, our guest speakers discussed important public health topics such as health equity, public health leadership, health advocacy, and many more.

In conclusion, it was a great learning experience, and it reflects that there will be great future public health professionals in the form of students who are studying at the University of New Haven. It was a memorable day.

Chioma Nsude '24 MPH

Health equity and equality have been central topics in healthcare for as long as I can remember. During the CPHA Advocacy training, I gained a profound understanding of the popular saying, "A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in healthcare," thanks to Dawn Johnson, an accomplished healthcare leader. It's evident that health equity and equality go beyond knowing the policies or concepts related to healthcare. The key lies in understanding how to apply them. Achieving this requires humanity, teamwork, and discipline.

A powerpoint presentation about the definition of healthy equity.
Health equity was among the many critical topics covered at the event.

Additionally, I delved into the political aspects of public health, learning about how laws are created and adopted, the agencies involved in the process, and the responsibilities of each branch. The presentations by Latoya Tyson and Taylor Tucker on health equity advocacy were enlightening. They emphasized the importance of being an advocate and highlighted that during advocacy, defining your "what" is crucial. Identifying "who" you are advocating for is equally important, as it determines your "how" when seeking solutions.

Reflecting on my experience at the CPHA advocacy training, I recognize that there is much work to be done to make health equity attainable. However, I am confident that it is achievable through simple steps such as taking a journey in your client's shoes, engaging in inclusive dialogue, staying grounded, showing up, and being intentional.

Emma Acampora ’24

The CHPA's 2024 advocacy training was truly exceptional in allowing students to get a firsthand experience into the world of public health. The day was filled with wholesome discussions and eye-opening lectures. As a young public health professional, I believe it is always important to go beyond the walls of your classroom and learn about active conversations being talked about in the community.

I found it extremely enlightening to hear the vocabulary, terms, and procedures taught in class also being used out in the public health field. This allows for an overwhelming confidence that once graduation day comes, I know I will be prepared and equipped to join the professional public health community.

During the presentation by advocate Dawn Johnson, I was impacted by the statement, "remove the lens of equity and implant corrective vision." So much of today's world is surrounded by assuming what a community or population needs, instead of taking a step back and asking. In order to achieve health equity and address structural injustices in the healthcare system in 2024, advocacy will be essential.

Five students in the University’s School of Health Sciences pose for a photo side by side.
The event was a great opportunity for Chargers to explore healthcare and advocacy.

Promoting initiatives and policies that support equitable access to healthcare resources and services, as well as working to challenge discriminatory policies, advocates aim to increase public awareness of health disparities. Policymakers, healthcare professionals, community leaders, and grassroots organizations are all essential in pushing for reform and holding institutions responsible for resolving health disparities.

An important step when it comes to public health advocacy is being heard by those who can help you implement change. After listening to Shelley Geballe from the Yale School of Public Health and Connecticut State Representative John-Michael Parker, it is apparent that getting involved in your local government in any capacity, whether that be speaking at a committee meeting or running for office, is extremely important.

Policymakers must put into practice evidence-based programs and policies that address the underlying causes of disparities if they are to make significant progress toward health equity. Increasing financing for community health centers that serve underprivileged populations, promoting culturally competent healthcare practices, investing in social determinants of health, such as affordable housing and wholesome food options, and broadening access to affordable healthcare coverage are some examples of what this entails.

Overall, I am thankful to the University of New Haven for allowing me to experience such an educational and important training.

Vishwa Shah ’24 MPH, Chioma Nsude '24 MPH are candidates in the University’s Master of Public Health program. Emma Acampora ’24 is a public health major.

A packed Bartels Hall for Advocacy Day.
The Connecticut Public Health Association's Advocacy Training Day brought healthcare professionals to the University of New Haven.