Issue 9 - October 2018
In this issue:
- Letter from the Editor
- Member Highlights
- Meet Your Leadership
- Getting to Know APHA
- The International Health Student Committee - Why You Should Get Involved
- IH at the APHA Annual Meeting
- The IH Section Communications Committee
- Theresa Majeski - Editor-in-Chief
- Chandra Sekar - Associate Editor
“Recognizing its importance, Aedes aegypti should be studied as a long-term national, regional, and world problem rather than as a temporary local threat to the communities suffering at any given moment from yellow fever, dengue or other aegypti-borne disease. No one can foresee the extent of the future threat of Aedes aegypti to mankind as a vector of known virus diseases, and none can foretell what other virus diseases may yet affect regions where A. aegypti is permitted to remain.”
- Fred Lowe Soper, Building the Health Bridge: Selections from the Works of Fred L. Soper
Meet your leadership
Featuring: Vina hulamm
By Shazie Senen
Vina HuLamm is the global health manager at the American Public Health Association (APHA) and works to advance the organization’s role and visibility in global health. Vina oversees the Association’s international activities and collaborative partnerships and serves on several committees and boards with other international organizations. Her professional areas of interest are health systems strengthening; human resources for health; maternal, newborn and child health and global health diplomacy. Aside from her professional interests and academic studies, Vina enjoys traveling to new places, fine-tuning her baking skills and practicing yoga in her spare time.
I see you’re currently doing a lot in various international programs and partnerships. How did you get into global health?
My academic background initially was in environmental science and policy, so I stumbled upon global health in a non-traditional way. After college, I taught English in Japan, and I was unsure of what to do after. I began working for a temp agency and by luck, I was placed with a consulting firm which provided technical assistance to USAID missions on their HIV/AIDS programs. This sparked my interest in international development and after the project ended, I worked for another consulting firm also focused on development assistance projects in different countries.
Once I started working for APHA, my understanding of global health really piqued. I started with really little background in public health. I completed my MS and am currently working on my doctorate in Public Health Leadership. There are different ways to integrate public health into “non-health” work, so you don’t have to throw any knowledge or experience away. Given I started in environmental science, it’s great to know that I can use this as context in my line of work. Anyone can weave their experiences into public health in some way.
What do you currently do to help the IH Section?
As the staff liaison to the section, my role is to support the section leadership and their activities. I currently manage APHA’s global health activities and partnerships. I oversee how we engage with international partners and make connections back to the members and work at APHA. Examples include: engaging with external partners to get them involved at our Annual Meeting and the Spanish translations project that we have with PAHO. It feels like I’m connecting the dots since I have a “bird’s eye” view of everything going on related to global health at the Association. Therefore, I feel my role has a dual purpose: 1) raise awareness of global health across the Association and 2) raise the visibility of APHA internationally.
We have a long standing relationship with the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), a global association of national public health associations, as one of the co-founders. Additionally, I am active on the Alliance of Public Health Associations of the Americas, a network established three years ago in Cuba to strengthen partnerships and work collaboratively on public health issues in the region. Through these networks, I have been involved in serving on various working groups and committees and seeking opportunities to highlight APHA’s expertise and resources. APHA is an NGO in official relations status with the Pan American Health Organization (APHO/WHO) and an organizational member of the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), I work with PAHO around our Annual Meeting every year as well as a translations project, a partnership between our respective journals. Our involvement with these entities provides opportunities for the organization to engage and contribute at the global level.
The international health student committee - Why You SHould get involved
By Teresa Ekaete Nwachukwu
What is truly special about the APHA in general and the IH Section in particular is the focus on mentoring and the prominent role students play in the affairs of the organization. For students who are really interested in leadership in the international health space, the International Health Student Committee (IHSC) provides a perfect platform to explore, learn, lead and shine.
As a public health practitioner, it is almost a given that you will be required to lead at one time or the other. You may be called to lead an investigation team in an outbreak, a research project, or an initiative that produces outputs that could influence the lives of millions of people. Your ability to manage people, resources, and information could make the difference between an exceptional project and a mediocre task. For some people, the thought of being at the top end of the decision making spectrum may be intimidating. Mercifully, there are numerous opportunities available to break the leadership ice and test the waters.
The IH Student Committee offers interested students the opportunity to practice those leadership skills in the real world and among supportive peers. As members of the Student Assembly of APHA, whose vision is to have a ‘network of students for a healthy global health’, the whole purpose of students’ involvement is to further the growth of the next generation of leaders in public health.
The role of the International Health Student Committee includes guiding and encouraging the IH student members. The committee facilitates the engagement of students and early career professionals who are passionate about global or international health so they can stay engaged with the larger section.
While the work of the IHSC is not necessarily overwhelming, it does require some commitment, focus and planning, which are key attributes that leaders in the global health sphere should develop. Last year, the IHSC went through some reorganization and two budding public health enthusiasts stepped up to assume leadership roles. Currently, the Co-Chairs of the IHSC are the duo of Love Odetola and Mackenzie Robinson.
Love Odetola is the personification of the word ‘international’. Born in Nigeria, raised in Senegal, her education has had Turkish, Indian, Swiss and American influences. Currently living in North Carolina, she is one of the Co –Chairs of the IHSC. Odetola’s interest in public health was clear early in her undergraduate years when she received the Davis Project for Peace grant. This grant funded potable water, public health education and micro finance loans to rural women in Senegal. Odetola, a doctoral student is also a student leader in the UMOJA research team, a project with interest in the health of Congolese refugee mothers in South Carolina. As a co-chair of the IHSC, Love is exploring a competition that would allow students showcase their work in international health.
She would like to facilitate more online networking events and webinars to recruit and engage the IH Section members from the underrepresented global health programs.