Kimberly Price took a deep breath before blowing through a stirring straw. Immediately she noticed how challenging it was to breathe. The narrow straw illustrated the difficulty of breathing during an asthma attack. Neasha Graves from the University of North Carolina’s Institute for the Environment used this simple activity to engage session participants during her talk at the North Carolina Public Health Association (NCPHA) Fall Educational Conference.
The NCPHA held its Fall Educational Conference from September 27-29 in Asheville, NC, where participants discussed emerging public health issues affecting North Carolina. Several Medical Advocates for Healthy (MAHA) members were in attendance including MAHA advisory board members Kimberly Price and Layton Long as well as MAHA manager Rachel McIntosh-Kastrinsky.
Conference sessions varied across the public health field from tattoos to healthy babies to building community partners to a healthy home. Larry Michaels, Environmental Health Section Chief at the North Carolina Division of Public Health, educated environmental health section members about recent environmental health legislative issues, such as SB 257 (SL 2017-57 section 11E.6), which implements the federal elevated blood lead standard in North Carolina.
“Anybody who wants to come, can come,” explained Marissa Mortiboy, Durham County Public Health Department, when describing how to engage community partners. Roxanne
Elliott, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, reminded session participants “people want communities to be healthy.” Mortiboy and Elliott were panelists for the “Leverage Partnerships: Creating Change through Community Coalitions in NC” session during the North Carolina Public Health Association (NCPHA) Fall Educational Conference.
Rachel McIntosh-Kastrinsky had the opportunity to highlight the importance of MAHA during the Thursday night poster presentation sessions. The MAHA poster noted the key health issues exacerbated by air pollution (respiratory and heart diseases), the main pollutants of note (particulate matter, ozone, and greenhouse gases) and how advocating for healthy air policies through MAHA protect patients and communities. You can learn about the health effects of air pollution and how to advocate for healthy by joining MAHA.
After the poster session, NCPHA Fall Conference attendees enjoyed the awards dinner where leading public health professionals were honored for their work. During the dinner, Rachel McIntosh-Kastrinsky along with other NCPHA members were inducted into the inaugural class for the NCPHA Emerging Leaders Program. The new program aims to provide emerging leaders in public health with skills and knowledge to become even more effective in their work. Participants will learn how to successfully lead teams through change and communicate with a diverse group of stakeholders, as well as understand financial concepts as these relate to public health and the complex landscape of health care. The NCPHA Emerging Leaders program will conclude at the next NCPHA Fall Educational Conference in Charlotte, September 2018.