APHA Man on the Street: Who's Out and About?

Nov 2, 2011, 7:40 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

While at APHA, we took the chance to talk to some of the meeting attendees and get their thoughts on the future of public health and more.

Ashante Reese

PhD Student of Anthropology

American University

What are you doing here at APHA?

I presented a poster on the effects of religious service attendance on depression. From here I’m about to launch into some qualitative research related to those whys – what is about services that make people less depressed, what they experience and what their social support network is all about.

What’s the best session you’ve attended so far?

I went to a poster presentation on community violence where the presenter was looking at different exposures to community violence and how that affected kids in a long-term continuum. That was interesting mainly because community violence research is still very new.

What are you excited about in public health right now?

I’m excited about bridging anthropology and public health. Anthropologists have a tradition of getting at people’s own perceptions and experiences within the context of their families and communities. I think that is a strength we can bring to public health with being able to contextualize some of their experiences and really getting at the heart of the “whys” as to people’s behavior. A lot of people know what to do but they don’t choose to, so why is that?

What will public health look like five years from now?

The first word that comes to mind is partnerships. I think a lot of public health people are starting to realize that partnering with the communities really does matter. So we should see more equal partnerships , not just researchers going in and saying this is what we need to do but instead having some of those changes emanate from the communities themselves. It takes more resources and time, but it may be more sustainable.

Jacqueline Douge, MD, MPH, FAAP

Deputy Health Officer

Frederick County Health Department, Maryland

What’s the best APHA session you’ve been to so far?

The social media and marketing session was really interesting to me for the cutting edge technology for use in public health. It’s helpful to learn more about public health innovations and how I can apply it to my daily work.

What are you most interested in right now in public health?

I’m interested in seeing more information regarding child health issues – not just infant mortality, but more of a broader child and adolescent health approach. I’d like to see a forum that highlights and features different programs and policies that are making a difference in those areas. For example, Text4Baby is a great program that we can learn from.

What will public health look like five years from now?

I think it will be more interactive and community based. And I’d love to see more trusts or competitions for innovative ideas in public health like they have for computer technology and other fields. That could help to shape what public health would look like in the future and maybe NewPublicHealth.org could be a forum to do that.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.