#UMN MCH student Aleksey Mason-Bradach wrote this reflection on her opportunity to complete two deployments with the Minnesota Department of Health and Minneapolis Public Schools.
Aleksey’s Deployment with the Minnesota Department of Health
My work with MDH has been interesting as I was working alongside a non-profit that was funded through an MDH grant. The Minnesota Perinatal Quality Collaborative (MNPQC) has three main initiatives that include hypertension, pre-term birth, and opioid use. To better address these initiatives from all sides, the MNPQC decided to create a Community Advisory Committee that included community organizations throughout Minnesota, doctors, and researchers. I helped to create an informational flier to provided to interested participants and identify organizations that would be helpful to have participated in the committee.
My work with the MNPQC opened my eyes to the importance of community collaboration. There is a huge importance of being on the ground and hearing people’s actual needs. This work has greatly influenced what I want to do for a career in the future. In today’s climate, this work of listening to the needs of a community from the members of the community is more important than ever.
Aleksey’s Deployment with Minneapolis Public Schools
Through my deployment, I have come to realize that we do not discuss vision health in MCH very often. There are currently policies supporting hearing and oral health, but very little for vision health. Through collaboration with organizations and families I am working to make vision health more accessible in policy and in the community.
I have focused my time with MPS learning about children’s vision health and the policies that are needed to increase access. The Minnesota Vision Health Task Force has discussed the various levels of policy work and collaboration needed to move our work forward. I have learned from looking at children’s dental policies and similar areas. I have also had the opportunity to meet a variety of people and organizations that are focused on children’s health including Phillips Eye Institute and Lion’s Club. Working alongside the National Prevent Blindness Better Vision Together Team, I have learned about different states’ initiatives to engage not only policymakers but also parents and families.
I worked to build a survey that examined parental knowledge of vision health amongst children who had previously been screened for vision problems. I was interested in this particular topic because data that had been collected in 2019 by MPS, showed that many families were English language learners. I want to ensure that the programming available to families is accessible no matter their language level. By understanding where families are coming from the language used can be tailored to them allowing for greater accessibility.
Aleksey Mason-Bradach is a second-year MCH MPH student. Her background is in Autism research and child development. Aleksey received her BS in Neuroscience from the University of St. Thomas with minors in Family Studies and Science, Medicine, and Society. In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing both indoors and outdoors and drinking copious amounts of coffee. After graduating, Aleksey hopes to establish a career in community advocacy and global health education.
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