Monday, March 3, 2014

MPH Students Experience the Policy Process

From left: Students Neha Sengar (Epidemiology), Adama Dabo (Phadmin/African Studies), Dr. Beth Meyerson, Qadeer Ahmad (Phadmin/Fulbright), Representative Sue Errington, Lindsey Degi (Phadmin) and Lauren Berlow (BSCH) pictured on at the Capitol on January 22, 2014.

 On January 22, 2014, 5 MPH students joined Dr. Beth Meyerson, Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Management at the Indiana State Capitol to attend a Cervical Health Awareness rally organized by the Indiana Cancer Consortium and the Cervical Cancer Free Indiana Coalition.

“This was a tremendous field learning experience about the intersection of public policy, the policy process and public,” said Meyerson, who also Co-Directs the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention.  “The Health Policy and Politics class is our way of strengthening student competency with structural aspects of public health. Field experience is a great way to ‘dive in and learn;’ even in a short legislative session.”

Students joined public health professionals, researchers and members of the public to hear about the latest science about cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination, stories from people affected by cervical cancer and from two state legislators working on HPV issues.

 "I was thrilled to attend,” said Fulbright Scholar and MPH Public Health Administration student Dr. Qadeer Ahmad. “I got to know the legislative process and how scientific advocacy can assist the creation of law for the health and safety of future generations.”

Representatives Sue Errington (D-Muncie) and Public Health Committee Chair Representative Ed Clere (R-New Albany) joined the group in the afternoon to speak about current HPV bills in the legislative process and encouraged participants to get involved.

Lindsey Degi, Public Health Administration student summarized the experience this way: “The trip to the Capitol allowed me to gain perspective of how the community, public health practitioners, and legislators communicate and work together in order to create policy changes that will improve public health. This opportunity allowed me to appreciate how important policy is to public health and without understanding this partnership nothing can be changed.” 
“For me, this experience was a really empowering and energizing, as I could bring my knowledge and passion for public health to the very place where it can make a difference - the policy arena,” said Lauren Berlow, an MPH student in Behavioral Social and Community Health.

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