Elisabeth Seburg is a second year MPH student at the University of Minnesota School Of Public Health. She is in the Maternal and Child Health program as well as a fellow in the University of Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program. As a trainee in two MCHB funded programs, Elisabeth tells us about her unique experience at AMCHP this year.
As a MCH graduate student and a LEND trainee, attending the 2012 AMCHP Annual Conference in Washington D.C was an incredibly valuable experience. I had the opportunity to connect with MCH leaders and learn about innovative MCH programs and initiatives across the country. My main take away from the conference is the importance of collaboration in public health work. From developing partnerships with community stakeholders to address local public health issues to sharing best practices between state Title V agencies, collaboration emerged as an essential component of MCH work.
While I attended many interesting and thought-provoking sessions at AMCHP, a power workshop on disability and women’s health stands out in my mind. The workshop, “Identifying Public Health Practices to Reduce Health Disparities in Women with Disabilities,” featured 3 speakers who shared work to address health disparities among women with disabilities. In addition to providing a good overview of disability-related health disparities, the session offered examples of initiatives to decrease these disparities. One example is the Initiative for Women with Disabilities (IWD) at the Elly & Steve Hammerman Health & Wellness Center, a health center for women with physical disabilities. IWD provides accessible health services to women with disabilities. Keeping with its holistic view of health, IWD also offers accessible activities to women with physical disabilities, such as adaptive rowing and belly dancing. I was excited to see a session on disability and health because my master’s project pertains to this topic, but, more broadly, the programs described in this workshop can serve as models for the field of MCH as we work to eliminate health disparities in women with disabilities.
For more information about IWD: http://iwd.med.nyu.edu/
For more information about disability health disparities: http://content.healthaffairs.org.ezp2.lib.umn.edu/content/30/10/1947.full