A Student's Perspective: 2014 Western Forum for Migrant & Community Health
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Posted by: Joy Ingram
by Tim Lemaire, NWRPCA/ATSU-SOMA OMSII, Portland Campus
Conferences are interesting
and exciting gatherings. The attendees are passionate and well
informed, and the exhibitors are targeted to the topic. If, like me, it
is your first time attending, you might not know anyone or feel a
connection with a group so sincerely dedicated to its cause. Thankfully
the community that gathers at these events is as passionate about
sharing the vision as they are about spreading change. As a student I
felt welcomed and included. The presenters were experts in their fields
and many of the attendees were just as knowledgeable.
Dr. Rishi Manchanda's keynote address about his approach to solving social inequity by addressing the “upstream"
causes set the tone and became the catch phrase for the event. There
were two presentations that were most impactful for me. The first was a
lecture on Social Determinants. It was heartbreaking and eye opening.
The systemic, calculated social roadblocks put in place by those in
power perpetuate the current situation of inequity. However, there are
many ingenious programs using the power and resources at their disposal
to make real upstream changes that positively affect lives and communities.
The second was a lecture about how the ACA
will help empower the future changes that community health centers are
working for. This one was a little beyond my current needs and
understanding but was a valuable first look at future structures. The
opportunities for new financing models and creating real upstream change are available in this legislation.
As a student looking for my place in the
larger healthcare family, I find conferences a vital resource for
exploring the options. If you are interested in a topic, a population or
a field of study, I guarantee there is a conference dedicated to that
idea. Take advantage of the time you have now and in the coming years to
attend a conference or two. There are likely local conferences or
events that you can attend to expand your understanding of the bigger
context in which we will be operating. I want to thank NWRPCA for the
opportunity to attend, and I hope to see some of you at a conference in
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