Reflections on American Public Health Association Expo

Reflections on American Public Health Association Expo

November 17th 2017

Last week, the American Public Health Association (APHA) held their annual meeting and exposition in Atlanta, Georgia. This year, Healthcare Ready had the opportunity to participate in the expo as exhibitors. As a recent college graduate interested in the public health field, I jumped at the opportunity to join my team members in Atlanta for four days of networking, information sharing, and attending sessions. APHA’s annual meeting brings together 12,000 public health professionals from around the world for education, networking, and marketing purposes. This meeting provided a wide array of information from various healthcare professionals (from educators to physicians) who shared their recent works and findings. Scientific sessions, poster presentations, and exhibits provided all attendees with knowledge and skills that they can apply to their profession.

This year’s theme “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health" focused on how climate change is impacting public health around the world. The meeting sought to address climate change issues and work towards safeguarding all communities against climate risks by protecting people’s health. For Healthcare Ready, this expo gave us a platform to share our most recent work with people who are in the preparedness field, as well as people who are passionate about emergency preparedness and disaster issues. As the 2017 hurricane season comes to a close, we are beginning to analyze and share our data and the lessons learned during this record breaking hurricane season. During this meeting, Healthcare Ready was fortunate to have linked with some of the most innovative and dedicated leaders in the public health and emergency space. In addition to being an exhibitor, our Executive Director had the opportunity to present our disaster relief efforts during the APHA Industry Expert Theater. Dr. Louissaint presented various data and trends that we found during each hurricane activation as well as the various partnerships we were involved in to help with community resiliency efforts during after each disaster. Understanding the various healthcare issues and discrepancies that are unique to each area is crucial to emergency preparedness. Being in this public health space was an imperative part of our after activation effort in order to better disseminate and share the various healthcare trends and disparities that were most prominent during our activation. The more widespread and available this information is for the public and our partners, the more prepared we will be for the next natural disaster event. Personally, I was able to gain better insight into how various sectors are able to connect and collaborate on various issues that affect public and global health. Attending conferences such as this one also allows me to expand my network and build on my skills as a young healthcare professional.

We would like to thank all those who participated in the annual meeting/expo and those who came out to visit our booth. We look forward to seeing you all at next year’s annual meeting.

Lailah Fofana

Lailah Fofana is a Programs Analyst at Healthcare Ready and a recent graduate of Howard University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a concentration in Management Communications and Economics. She previously worked as an intern at Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States in the Community Benefits department where she coordinated public health projects and plans while tracking the projected outcomes of each.

At Healthcare Ready  she is responsible for attending relevant meetings and briefings, developing meeting summaries for HcR leadership, identifying and tracking relevant working groups, and more. With her background in research and communications, Lailah is able to conduct qualitative and quantitative research while assisting with social media communications and blog management. Lailah plans on attending graduate school to earn her Masters in Public Health in the near future.