I started off the morning by attending a presentation called Policy and Advocacy in Maternal and Child Health. This insightful session at the American Public Health Association’s annual conference included a staffer from Capitol Hill who works on the health subcommittee as a previous public health professional. She taught us tricks to engaging our Congress members, in order for them to hear our concerns as constituents.
During this session, Brent Ewig from the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) also reminded us of a statement that was offered at the opening session of APHA’s conference: “If Schools of Public Health are only teaching students the power of p-values, we miss the importance of policy and advocacy in bettering the health of our nation.” This statement has stuck with me throughout the day. As a student in a public health program, I have been taught how to interpret research, how to conduct it, as well as of its importance in the field. However, research’s significance will not be appreciated if we do not know how to implement it into policy and programs; it will sit on the shelf, never to be applied. Getting the opportunity to attend APHA’s conference this year allowed me to close this gap in understanding how research and policy must work together. I hope to share this learning process among students who were unable to attend these presentations, and in the future work to help the two fields collaborate on the same goal of promoting the health of women, families, and children.